Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When the clock strikes 10pm on Monday June 21, 2010, the 394-metre stretch of Pudu Jail wall fronting Jalan Pudu was demolished after having served its purpose for the past 100 years. The wall goes down to accommodate the widening of the busy road that fronts it and as one of the major sites for mega development.

It's a waste and pointless, destroying building with such historical value, which should be made a heritage site.

Pudu Prison, or better known as Pudu Jail, was built on the site of a former Chinese burial ground. Pudu was by then a dense jungle area, with tigers occasionally roaming around. Construction began in 1891, using convicts as workforce. It took about four years and was finally complete in 1895.

A few months after its completion, in August 1895, a cholera plague struck the prison complex, killing a few hundred inmates. Later, it was known that the plague was caused by the prison's water supply system. By then, the prison complex's water supply relied on an old well once belonged to the Chinese cemetery that previously stood on the prison's site. An inspection by the British colonial authorities revealed that the water in the well was severely contaminated by deadly viruses. Subsequently, the water problem was not fixed until 1898.

After the fall of Singapore, during World war II, the Japanese occupation forces incarcerated many English, Australian and New Zealand prisoners there.

Early in its history, Pudu prison was the only prison in the State of Selangor and used to imprison men and women with short sentences. The prison was also self-sufficient as it had a vegetable garden that could produce enough food for its inmates annually. It later housed criminals including drug offenders and was a location for administering corporal punishment by rotan caning. The canings were administered in a special "caning area", so marked, not inside the building but in the grounds. It is no longer used as a prison and while it was once open as a museum, it can at present be viewed only from the outside.

There are rumours that Pudu Prison is haunted. There have been reports of a strange Indian man walking the halls of the prison and disappearing around the corner. Screams have been heard from rooms where hangings have taken place, and there are certain areas of the prison that are far colder than others. Russell Lee, the author of the book series True Singapore Ghost Stories included a story of a prisoner in Pudu Prison in one of his books. The prisoner reported hearing screaming from the rotan caning area, and he also heard the story that one prisoner committed suicide in order to avoid being caned. Supposedly his ghost stops the last stroke of the cane being given, and the prisoner personally reported this experience happening to him. According to several websites, the reason that Pudu Prison is being turned back into a prison for low-security prisoners is because no-one would buy it as for commercial property because of the hauntings.

Misc Facts

In 1986, two Australian citizens, Kevin John Barlow and Brian Geoffrey Chambers of Perth, Western Australia became the first Westerners hanged for drug offences that prescribe death for anyone convicted of having over 15 grams of heroin. The executions caused public outcry and strained political relations between Australia and Malaysia at the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment