LONDON: The lights finally went out for students and visitors to Malaysia Hall when a warden was ordered by West minster Council to close its doors permanently to guests for reasons of fire safety.
The closure order, which came unannounced by authorities, was discovered when Malaysians who phoned the Hall were told it no longer took in residents.
The order came after officers of Westminster Council refused to extend the Hall's operating permit in January because fire safety provisions were considered as not adequate.
The closure brought an end to a 40-year history of student accommodation in this leafy square of central London.
Last April, authorities here ended another piece of Malaysian history by surrendering a lease on two adjoining properties housing the Malaysian Students Department (MSD).
Malaysians who have passed through Malaysia Hall include former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak, and other luminaries of the Malaysian academic and corporate world.
Although Westminster Council refused to comment on the order, it is believed the surrendering of the adjoining properties was a reason for Malaysia Hall's failure to meet fire safety requirements.
A fire escape route from residential quarters, which extended into the MSD buildings, was no longer available.
To rectify the inadequacy, authorities would have had to spend a vast amount of money, which they were unwilling to do especially since a contract for the purchase of a new Malaysia Hall had been signed recently.
The new Malaysia Hall in Bayswater District about half-a-mile away was expected to open its doors later this year.
The building, a former hotel, was purchased for about RM72mil. Bernama