After scores of protests and memorandums, die-hard members of Kuala Lumpur's Chinese community have claimed victory in a seven-year battle to reopen a Chinese school ordered to close in 2001 because of 'noise pollution'. The real reason for the closure, opposition lawmakers alleged, was to satisfy a Chinese tycoon who wanted to develop the roadfront land of the Damansara Chinese Primary School, about 12km south of the city centre, as a shopping complex. 'It is a major victory for Chinese vernacular education and an admission that Chinese voter anger over the closure had contributed to the government's defeat in the March 8 elections,' said opposition lawmaker Tian Chua. 'They have finally come to their senses that education overrides business interests, but it took them seven years and a major election defeat to see that.' In 2003, to appease angry parents and activists, the government built a new Chinese school nearby, but only half the parents moved their children there. The rest refused to give up their demands for 'the right to Chinese education'. Although the school was closed and students barred entry, defiant parents placed seven large shipping containers in the car park and hired teachers for classes in them. The 128 students who attended the 'container school' in late 2001 have dwindled to 39 today, but their defiance won the support of the Chinese community, which raised funds to provide air conditioners, pay the teachers and buy books. The non-governmental Qualifying Board for Chinese Schools issued certificates for the container school, further embarrassing the Malay-dominated government. The issue was a reason angry voters punished many Chinese leaders in the government whose stand on the school's status was ambiguous, analysts said. In a final, face-saving gesture, the government said this week that the original Damansara school would not be 'reopened', but that students from another, overcrowded school would move in. In effect, the Damansara school building will be renamed and reopened to house another school within three months - but it will also be a Chinese one.