Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia is likely to decide the fate of a century-old Vivekananda Ashram as a "national heritage" building next week, even as the ashram's board of trustees twice rejected the proposal.
The Malaysian government had earlier planned to gazette the 110-year-old graceful white building located in suburb of Brickfields here as a heritage site but the proposal was twice rejected by the ashram's board of trustees.
The board of trustees previously submitted a proposal to sell and redevelop the land into a 23-storey apartment tower.
However, due to objection from various parties and individuals from all over Malaysia, City Hall put a temporary halt to the project, the Star Metro reported.
Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz said that the National Heritage Commission would make the official announcement.
Raja Singham, who has been instrumental in efforts to save the site, had been reported as saying that the effort should not stop at just saving the place.
"It will be pointless to have the place locked up just like it has been over the last 10 years," Singham said.
He said it was time the ashram returned to its glory days when it first started about 100 years ago.
"It was an education centre then, just as Swami Vivekananda wanted. Historical records show the place was a centre for mathematics and it was also a community gathering point," he said
Even in the early 1990s, various dance and vocal classes, yoga lessons and other spiritual activities were held there, he added.
The ashram management had cited financial problems as the reason for its redevelopment, prompting Raja to offer financial help.