The Society of Saint Maur is waiting for a black-and-white letter from the government confirming that the lease on SMK Convent Bukit Nanas will be extended.
The society’s counsel Ian Hannibal Liang today said they will wait for this official document before they could make a decision on whether to withdraw a related legal challenge against the non-renewal of the lease over the 122-year-old school.
“Parties are in the midst of settling the matter and to wait for an official letter from the respondent (Federal Territories Lands and Mines director),” the lawyer said when contacted today.
Liang was responding to the April 22 announcement by the government agreeing to extend the lease over SMK Convent Bukit Nanas. The land lease is set to expire on Sept 6 this year.
Earlier on April 7, the society filed the legal challenge against the non-renewal of the land lease over the school.
Convent Bukit Nanas had reportedly written to the Lands and Mines office on Oct 4, 2017, to seek an extension of the land lease, but was told on Dec 18 last year that the lease would not be renewed.
The school is seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision by the Lands and Mines office to not extend the land lease and mandamus to compel the Federal Territories Lands and Mines director to revoke the land lease non-renewal letter.
Through the application, it claimed that the Lands and Mines office had failed to consider the impact of its decision on the students and teachers.
Liang said they have informed the Kuala Lumpur High Court that parties are in the midst of trying to settle the matter.
The lawyer earlier had taken part in case management of the legal action before judge Noorin Badaruddin. Senior federal counsel M Kogilambigai appeared for the respondent.
“In view of the above, case management has been fixed on June 3, 2021, at 2.30pm via Zoom (online) before judge Noorin to update on the status of the settlement,” Liang said.
The issue had attracted calls for the government to renew the land lease, among others from former minister and Convent Bukit Nanas alumni Rafizah Aziz.
On April 22, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) urged the government to maintain the status quo over the matter.
Suhakam wanted the government to renew the lease as the school is one of the country’s high-achieving schools and should be allowed to continue with its educational work that has been done for more than a century.
Two days earlier (April 20), an online petition was launched at change.org to lobby for the school’s preservation.
On April 25, the National Parents-Teacher Association Consultative Council urged for the historic school to be gazetted as a national heritage to preserve, conserve and protect the site.