KUALA LUMPUR: Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Victoria, which now has national heritage status, reverts to its old name of Victoria Institution (VI) from Saturday as it is world renowned.
"The world already knows its name as Victoria Institution so it is my pleasure to announce that its name, beginning today, will remain as Victoria Institution," said Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Speaking at a cermony Saturday to declare the school's national heritage status, Shafie said the school was chosen as it met the criteria of the National Heritage Act 2005.
Shafie, who is an alumnus of the school, said VI played a role in the country's history when it was used as the administrative headquarters by the invading Japanese army during the Second World War.
The school, he said, was also the first English secondary school in the country, was prestigious and had produced important personalities from Sultans, leaders, ministers, corporate figures, politicians to sports luminaries and professionals.
He said the school was the first in Southeast Asia to have cadet corps and a school band.
Shafie called for the school's heritage to be conserved as each characteristic "be it a wall, a window, balcony, roof, tower or its field has its own story."
Founded by Sultan Abdul Samad, William Hood Treacher, Loke Yew, Thamboosamy Pillai and Yap Kwan Seng on Aug 14, 1893, Victoria Institution has steadfastly maintained a record of academic excellence and produced many leaders and luminaries.
Those who passed through its hallowed halls include Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Cabinet ministers then and now like Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen and former judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar.
Other former students include corporate giants like Tan Sri Shamsuddin Abdul Kadir, T. Ananda Krishnan and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh while in the field of sports the school has produced luminaries such as Datuk Dr. M. Jegathesan, the late Mokthar Dahari, Datuk Misbun Sidek, Foo Kok Keong, Datuk P.S. Nathan and Ishtiaq Mubarak.
Shafie said till today there were 172 items listed on the National Heritage List.
He said there were four sites in the country accorded 'World Heritage Site' status and several manuscripts were in the 'Memory Of The World' register.
"Such recognition surely adds value to our heritage and Malaysians should be proud that our heritage is shared with the world," Shafie said.
Meanwhile, VI ParentTeachers Association (PTA) chairman Raja Amir Shah Raja Abdul Aziz said now that the school had been bestowed national heritage status, with its illustrious name restored, a strategic plan needed to be formulated to chart the school's future direction.
"After the heritage do and getting back the VI name, all of us the PTA, old boys, the teachers and community should make VI the best in everything.
"We can have the Raffles Institution in Singapore as a benchmark," he said. - Bernama