Pekeliling Flats comes down six years after last tenants move out

Controversial building: The Pekeliling flats will be a thing of the past.

Controversial building: The Pekeliling flats will be a thing of the past.

TUNKU Abdul Rahman flats, popularly known as Pekeliling Flats, will be demolished today.

Six years after the last of its tenants were relocated, Kuala Lumpur’s iconic and controversial landmark will finally be brought down, with work on the remaining five blocks of the 17-storey structure at Jalan Tun Razak to be carried out between 11am and noon.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib told StarMetro in an exclusive interview that a top-down demolition exercise using a crane placed at the top of the structure will be used to demolish the buildings downwards, with no explosives used.

While city folk generally welcome the long-awaited move, the news has however, caused mixed feelings among many former tenants.

“I am feeling nostalgic and a little sad,’’ said Sunny Tan, a former tenant.

“I know Pekeliling Flats must be demolished but it holds many memories for me,” he said.

Tan lived there from 1997 to 2003, and recalled the harmonious and peaceful atmosphere at the flats occupied by a multi-racial community.

“It was nice living there.

“I used to buy breakfast and local kuih from a makcik who lived a few doors away, and enjoyed listening to a Chinese neighbour strumming the guitar next door to me,’’ Tan reminisced.

Lokman Idrus, who also lived there during the 1990s, said the unity among residents back then was also strong.

“Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali celebrations were fun, with open houses to attend,’’ the 60-year-old said, adding that he missed all this very much.

The flats have been vacant since Dec 31, 2008, after the last of its tenants moved out.

Since then the building has been left abandoned and vagrants, drug addicts, homeless people and foreign workers have made it their home.

City residents have called for the structures to be demolished as it has become a hotbed for crime.

Following this call, the Government last year directed Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to bring down the five remaining blocks, which was echoed by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor. Tengku Adnan had said the developers would have to bear the cost for the exercise.

For many years, the mayor’s office has come under fire for not resolving the Pekeliling Flats problem.

Since the land was involved in a legal tussle, the authorities did not want to get involved.

In 1995, the Government decided to redevelop the flats as part of its urban renewal programme to refurbish old areas in the city.

The developer, Government-appointed Asie Development Sdn Bhd, was awarded the project to redevelop Pekeliling Flats but has yet to submit any plans for this.