Government won't be acquiring Coliseum as a heritage building

KUALA LUMPUR: The show goes on for the Coliseum cinema!  

The heritage building will not be acquired or leased by the Government and it will continue to screen movies. 

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim assured cinema owner Dr Chua Seong Siew that there was “no question” of the Government taking over the cinema. 

“The Government does not intend to take away the Coliseum cinema from the owner. We will work together in making it a great arts and culture hub to promote street-level activities. 

“The public car park area adjacent to the cinema will continue to be used as a place to promote the arts, and dances, wayang kulit shows, and musical and cultural activities will be staged there,” he said in an interview yesterday. 

The performances will be organised during weekends and selected days. “We want to make the car park a cultural and arts hub in the city.” 

The Government’s plan is to turn the entire Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman area into a street-level arts and cultural activity area for the masses. 

In a 30-minute fruitful meeting with Dr Chua and his family members, Rais said they agreed to make the cinema a place to show more locally-produced films and to encourage movie goers to patronise the Coliseum cinema. 

“We want the cinema to be frequented by Malaysians of all races, tourists and people from all walks of life as it is the oldest cinema in the city,” Rais said. 

The ministry, he said, would sponsor schoolchildren to view classic films and artistic and cultural movies. 

Rais said he had a good discussion with Dr Chua and they were agreeable to developing the cinema together to promote Malaysian cultural activities. 

He said he had also requested the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) to work with Dr Chua to screen more locally-produced movies. 

“My Ministry will work with Dr Chua to spruce up and make the Coliseum cinema a centre for arts and culture in the city.” 

While leaving the Minister’s office, Dr Chua said Rais was magnanimous in guaranteeing that the cinema would not be taken from his family. 

“My bad dreams and days of anxiety over the takeover of the cinema have come to an end,” he said. 

Last Tuesday, Dr Chua was asked by the Kuala Lumpur land administrator to vacate his landmark building, which his family had owned for the past 86 years, within 30 days. 

“Rais expressed sympathy that three of our family properties had been acquired by the Government before and said that he was not aware of it.” 

When asked about the Land Office letter, Dr Chua said Rais would resolve the issue with the relevant department. 

“I was taken aback when the minister said the Government was not taking away anything from me. We were assured that there would not be any compulsory acquisition of the cinema.” 

Dr Chua said he was more than willing to cooperate with the Government to make the cinema a brighter and better place for movie goers. 

“I will fully support any effort by the Government and Rais to improve the facilities in the cinema.  

Previous Reports:Moviegoer starts campaign to ‘Save Our Coliseum’ Rais to meet Coliseum owner Let cinema stay open for its memories, say readers Government wants amicable solution to cinema acquisition move Owner gets notice to vacate his building Taking over well-maintained buildings will send wrong signal Counting the cost of converting the Coliseum Leave Coliseum alone, Government urged Coliseum to be arts centre Why acquire Coliseum cinema? 

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