What’s with Malaysian government and their predisposition to destroy historical buildings, kampungs, football fields and parks?
Why are they so determined to wipe out every trace of our physical history? Surely they know that having physical evidence of history helps us construct our identity and build a sense of pride.
Also, don’t they know that green space plays an integral part in the physical, mental and social well being of a nation?
According to Edmund Jessop, Vice President of UK Faculty of Public Heath:
Outdoor space matters in public health terms not just because of the current interest in giving the next generation of elite athletes the space to play competitive sport on good quality pitches. It’s more that kids need free space, preferably green, to play in for their development, as well as physical and mental health [source].
Despite government’s effort to bring back talents from abroad (2,015 Malaysians in 3 years [source]), it dwarfs in comparison to the 304,358 Malaysians who were reported to have migrated from March 2008 to August 2009 [source].
Lee Wei Lian put it succinctly:
What talented people want is a city that appreciates and cares for its legacy, that is strong on conservation efforts and a cityscape that will stimulate their intellectual and cultural senses. What they do NOT want is a city made up of soulless shopping malls and office blocks. [source].
Besides Merdeka Park, here are other public spaces in Kuala Lumpur that are in dire need of protection:
1. Brickfields Police Headquarters Redevelopment
The old Brickfields district police headquarters was given to Primamuda Holdings Sdn Bhd in exchange for building police stations in Jalan Travers. (The land swap legacy of Mahathir continues…)
Primamuda director, Mariany Mohamad Yit, was reported by The Star in 2008 as also being Bukit Bintang Wanita Umno chief and a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) advisory board member [source]. Crony, much?
Brickfields residents are adamant that the land must remain as institutional and a police station must be built at the site.
The land in dispute had belonged to the Federal Land Commission and is meant for public use under the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP2020). According to policy CF3 of the KLSP2020, land designated under institutional use (police reserve) must only be used for public purposes. That means the land can be used for public facilities such as parks, museum, educational facilities, recreation, fire brigade and similar facilities for the public. [source]
Brickfields Rukun Tetangga chairman S.K.K. Naidu called on the government to return the institutional land where the Brickfields police station, headquarters and officers quarters used to be. He said a new park should be created in its place [source]. (Yes! Yes! Brickfields needs a green lung badly!)
The police headquarters was demolished in 2011, even before the land transfer was finalized [source]
2) Hundred Quarters and Lorong Chan Ah Tong field, Brickfields
Back in 2011, DBKL gave MRCB subsidiary, Country Annexe SB (CASB) two pieces of land situated at the intersection of Lorong Chan Ah Tong and Jalan Tun Sambanthan (known as Lot 349 and Lot 266 measuring 14,297 sq m and 5,642.71 sq m respectively) in exchange for 3 projects namely:
(FYI, EPF has a controlling stake in MRCB.)
Those three projects ONLY cost approx. 128 million whereas the prime land cost much more than that! [source]
Nevermind about the price of the land, Hundred Quarters with its rich history should be preserved as a national heritage! Kuala Lumpur is fast becoming a city with no past. No one, tourists and locals alike, would want to visit a city devoid of history.
Yknow what’s funny, the land swap occurred in 2011 but DBKL has sealed the field since 1991. Why would you cordon off open space for 20 over years for no apparent reason? Assholes, amirite?
Brickfields produced a homegrown talent because of Chan Ah Tong field. How many talents will be left untapped because the children never had the chance to play in a big open field?
We have to be quick because the new government quarters, Ann Seng Development, is ready for occupation. I predict that the civil servants will be relocated after Deepavali and the demolition of Hundred Quarters will proceed immediately after that.
Photo of the new government Class F quarters near Jalan Ang Seng in Jan 2013 [source]
Do you know what Country Annexe Sdn Bhd is planning to do with Hundred Quarters and Chan Ah Tong field? They turning it into a soulless 43-storey tower with 3 blocks of service apartments *smh*.
3) Railway and La Salle field, Brickfields
There is also talk that the next field identified for development is at the 58-year-old La Salle Brickfields school whose lease expires in 2017. Both the school and field do not appear in the Draft Kuala Lumpur Plan 2020 and many believe it will be taken over for development. (So I guess, Malaysian government is equal opportunity when it comes to grabbing lands from schools, not just from a Chinese school, eh?) [source].
Another disappointment is the closing of the railway field which borders the YMCA playing ground in Brickfields. Hoardings were put up in the mid-90s, denying the residents a vast field that used to be a popular venue for football, cricket and hockey. Residents were informed that the field was earmarked for development that would take place soon. But it has been 15 years since the field was “closed”. Until today there is no sign of any development [source]. (This needs to be said again: DBKL are assholes!)
4) Ex-Unilever Land Jalan Bangsar /Jalan Tandok
Ex-Unilever site [pix source]
Back in 2010, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad sold the prime 8.09-ha site to Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad at RM150 per sq ft (around RM130 million) which was well below the market value. PHB is a subsidiary of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera, created under Budget 2006 with an initial capital of RM2 billion, to promote Bumiputera ownership of prime real estate. [source] (yeah, right…)
PHB is confident it will obtain Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) approval (because DBKL is an autocratic local government that serves the cronies, not the people) for its planned RM5 billion integrated commercial development in Bangsar. Once DBKL grants its approval, PHB will then decide which developers it wants to work with [source].
This seems to be our government modus operandi, isn’t it? Sell/swap govt land to a GLC developer (MRCB, UEM Land, UDA, SP Setia, PHB, Naza TTDI) below market price and then have the GLC go on a joint venture with a private developer. Promoting Bumiputera ownership of prime real estate my ass… more like promoting cronies to capitalize on public lands.
Not only is our government selling/swapping their (read:our) land to crony GLC developers, they are also selling government agencies to cronies. After Pos Malaysia [source], Proton [source], KTMB is soon to be under Syed Mokhtar [source].
Pos Malaysia, Proton and KTMB own numerous plots of lands and KTMB is reported to own RM50 billion of land assets [source].
In an unrelated news, celebrated local landscape architect, Seksan, has plans to turn the unused TNB land in Bangsar into a community-run park [source].
I don’t see why the same can’t be done with the ex-Unilever site.
The site is perfect for an urban park. It’s easily accessible from Bangsar LRT and just a stone’s throw from Midvalley (for those who are familiar with Bangsar, you’d know that there is a pedestrian shortcut from Jalan Riong to Midvalley).
If you don’t fancy walking, just take the free feeder bus that runs from Midvalley to LRT Station. The feeder bus takes a detour to Jalan Tandok before reaching Bangsar LRT so you can always ask the bus driver to stop there. (I know this because I’ve taken the free feeder bus from Midvalley to Bangsar Permai Apartments at Jalan Tandok several times).
I don’t quite like the idea of privately managed public park but if the developers are worried about money, they should take a look at Bryant Park. They needs to realize that profits from the sale of apartments/shoplots come only once. With parks, you can regenerate income continuously and I’m pretty sure there is an added benefit of tax exemption for giving back to the community.
Most Malaysian developers are still old-fashioned, thinking that parks are just grass and trees-filled space which bring zero profit. With proper planning, you can actually make money out of parks. Malaysians love to eat alfresco, listen to live music, capitalize on this!
While the Unilever land is still unoccupied, the land next to former Unilever land (opposite Bangsar Permai) is now the site for Hap Seng’s 38-storey service residence tower [source] despite objection from Bangsar residents last year [source]. (All together now.. “NoOOOOoOooo!~” A good public park should be bounded by streets or sidewalks on all sides. Having a super tall apartment on the perimeter of the park ruins the view.)
Construction has already begun at the site.
KenCity Development has submitted a proposal to develop the land next to Hap Seng’s Nadi Bangsar but so far it has not been approved [source]. But I doubt it stays that way — sooner or later, DBKL will approve it.
By the way, the land across Bangsar LRT Station is set to become The Establishment, a 41-storey hotel, spa and service apartments, managed by Alila Hotels & Resorts [source]. According to this website, the landscape is designed by Seksan [source]. Jalan Ann Seng is going to be gentrified.
The website claimed The Establishment would be sited on the graveyard (marked red) but I am not inclined to believe it. I reckoned The Establishment will be built on the now demolished Imran ENT Specialist Clinic (in purple stripes). I wished I took pictures of the clinic before it was demolished. The late Dr. Imran who passed away early this year has served countless patients for over 30 years.
5) Bukit Persekutuan, Jalan Bangsar
The Public Health Institute off Jalan Bangsar was acquired by SP Setia as part of a land swap in return for building a replacement facility in the developer’s township in Setia Alam, north of Shah Alam. It will also build a polyclinic and dental clinic in Bangsar, and pay the government RM217.11 million — the premium guaranteed profit for the proposed mixed development [source]. (Guaranteed profit for whom? For crony developer SP Setia, more like it.)
The land, I believe, SP Setia got in exchange for building 1National Institute of Health and apartments in Setia Alam, Selangor. Look how green Bukit Persekutuan (Federal Hill) is! And it’s all going to turn concrete in a few years time.
Called Setia Federal Hill, the project is reported to be a mixed development comprising luxury residential apartments, offices, performing arts centre, and retail mall [source]. Setia Federal Hill is touted to be a mixed development with a gross domestic value of RM8 billion [source].
Jalan Bangsar will lose its lush greenery to shopping complexes and office buildings 😦 [pix source]
Anil Netto noted:
S P Setia builds a health care complex for over RM800 million (including the land cost) and in return is given super-prime land with a GDV ranging from RM6 billion to RM11 billion.
This reminds me of how the Penang government, under the BN administration, allowed a developer to take over land reclamation rights worth billions of ringgit in GDV in exchange for building an expressway at a cost of a few hundred million [source].
NST warned of more (shady close-tender) land swap deal:
THERE will be more land swap deals between the public and private sectors (yikes!) in a drive to increase government revenue, which is currently at RM220 billion a year.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said besides reducing subsidies and introducing the goods and services tax, land swap is a good bet to improve the income base.
“There are parcels of land not suitable for the government because their value has gone up considerably. We will call for tenders and get developers to come in with the best plans and pricing,” he said at the Public Private Partnership (PPP) conference, here, yesterday [source].
Why is our government so keen to sell off prime estate land below the market price? Perhaps Liew Chin Tong is right – perhaps our current government is transferring as many assets to the their cronies as possible, just in case the opposition wins the next election.
Back in 2007, the Malaysian Nature Society and Badan Warisan Malaysia submitted a proposal to the government to turn the 70ha Bukit Persekutuan into an urban park and also a site for the Natural History Museum of Malaysia. Even though there was no development proposals for the area at the time, the land was not a protected area and they were worried (rightly so) that the hill could be gone unless efforts are done to conserve it ([source].
“The hill is the only living forest in the city centre now. At the hill, one can enjoy a scenic view of various species of forest trees scattered along the slopes and gullies, separated by single lane roads with old government bungalows. The flora and fauna includes more than 65 species of local and migratory birds, long tailed macaques, tree shrews and monitor lizards. Plenty of mature forest trees are scattered along the hill slopes and gullies including big timber trees like tembusu, nyatoh tembaga, jelutong and pulai [source].”
Let’s keep the good fight going, let’s turn Federal Hill into an lively urban park instead of a concrete jungle that only caters to the privileged.
6) Pudu Jail
The 7.6ha plot of land was granted to UDA for development, in exchange for the building of the Sungai Buloh Prison [source]. UDA was formed after race riots in 1969 to ensure Malays have a bigger stake in the urban economy [source]. (Hmmm… where have we heard this before?)
Rosli Mohd Ali from Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia reported,
“UDA said that when PM Mahathir gave them the Pudu Jail land swap in-lieu of the Sungai Buloh Jail, it came to them without any encumbrances, ie. allowing them to demolish the Pudu Jail buildings at will, for the new commercial project!
“Then later added, they were also given new conditions and among them was to include the Medium Cost Housing Projects at the perimeter. Which included more land acquisitions to them, including the playing field next door and land-bank behind, The Eurasian Club Pudu” [source].
All gone 😦 A memorial park should be built in its place, yes? [pix source]
The Antiquities Act 1976 states that a historic building or monument aged at least 100 years old can be listed or gazetted through the Museum Department. But at the age of 107 (in 2002), there have been no attempts to list Pudu Jail as a protected building [source].
Pudu Jail’s construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1895. It was designed by Charles Edwin Spooner, the state engineer and director of Public Works Department to fit 950 inmates. At the cost of $320 000, the prison was built in six phases using steel, brick and cement, all imported from British colonies. Spooner has produced a prison design that was suitable to the local climate and culture. These are apparent in the use of courtyards, jack-roofs, large overhangs and the Moorish front gate [source].
Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, which was built at the same time, was also designed by CE Spooner [source].
Badan Warisan Malaysia quipped,
Would this decision to demolish have been made were the building to have been the Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad? Both these buildings were built at the same time, and the design credited to the same engineer, C E Spooner. And yet one is retained, despite having had extensive changes made to its interior, while the other has largely retained its original form. If the decision to retain or demolish one or the other was based on which has the higher levels of authenticity, Pudu Jail would come out on top. Unfortunately, Pudu Jail does not have the wow factor. It does not have the wholesome appeal, being a building with a brutal and insalubrious story. But is this not a legitimate part of Kuala Lumpur’s story? [source]
Campaigns to save Pudu Jail have been on the front gate and prison walls rather than the Cell Block because these are more familiar landmarks. These campaigns are positive signs but they lack historical information. Knowledge of nationalists who served time in the prison could change the nation’s perception towards the prison [source].
It is important to realize that within 100 years of serving as a prison, Pudu Jail’s inmates were not solely convicts but also servicemen and nationalists who fought against the Japanese and British for Malaya’s liberation. The prison’s key significance is the role it played towards the emergence of Malaysia’s nationhood [source].
During the Japanese occupation, service officers from many different nations who had fought to defend our shores were also imprisoned.
“Pudu jail should be preserved,” said Charles Edwards, 89, who was a private in the Australian 8th Division, part of Commonwealth forces that defended Malaya, as it was then known, at the outset of the 1939-1945 war [source].
“So many Australians and allied soldiers died in places like Pudu, defending democracy and the lives of the people of Malaya,” Edwards said from his home outside Melbourne [source].
“They made the ultimate sacrifice and Pudu is a reminder of that sacrifice which led to the freedom we enjoy now,” he told AFP [source].
A large number of nationalists were imprisoned in Pudu Jail by the British Administration, among them Idris Hakim and Mustapha Hussain [source].
So what do our history-blind money-minded politician have to say about Pudu Jail?
Former Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Awang Adek Hussin :
“The government has studied the matter and decided that the site is not a heritage site and will not be turned into one. To our opinion, it is not something to be proud of… there may be other things that we can be proud of, compared to a jail, although it (Pudu Jail) is old. Therefore, there are no plans for us to build a museum there [source].”
“A prison is not something that has high national or aesthetical value but for those who are nostalgic about the past, we can preserve the jail’s arch [source].”
Former Deputy Minister of Information Communication and Culture, Datuk Joseph Salang, said the ministry had already documented the Pudu Jail complex well through drawings, photos and video, before the demolition [source].
The only official comments have been ones justifying the need for road expansion to alleviate traffic congestion. It would be very surprising if the city’s traffic woes just disappeared with the widening of Jalan Pudu or Jalan Hang Jebat [source].
According to University of Toronto study into widening of roads, if you increase the supply of road space then you also increase the demand for its usage (what’s known as induced demand) [source].
“What we found was that in cities where there was more roads, there was more driving,” economist Matthew Turner, a co-author of the study. “In particular, if you had 1 percent more roads, you had 1 percent more driving in those cities [source].”
Turner’s study also looked at public transportation, and the results were similar: More buses and trains create more riders, but generally don’t make a dent in traffic problems [source].
“As you increased a city’s stock of light rail or bus cars, that there’s no impact on the amount of driving,” Turner says [source].
If you want to reduce congestion, the way to do it is to invest in public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure, all things that encourage people out of their cars, rather than merely building new roads or widening existing roads [source].
The city of Seoul in South Korea went one step further, and removed a major highway from the city, replacing it with a stream that was originally there. But rather than a massive increase in traffic and congestion, people moved to public transport or changed their travel times to work around the new road space availability. This phenomenon was described (at around 11:45 in the video) by comparing traffic to a gas – it expands or compresses to fit into the space provided, rather than a liquid – which spills over and floods other areas when not enough capacity is provided. [source].
No prize for guessing what UDA is planning to do with the Pudu Jail site – office towers, serviced residences, a mall and shoplots worth more than RM6 billion and… they are going to rename the site Bukit Bintang City Centre (WTF?!) [source].
Would you, fellow Malaysians, want these cluster of expensive buildings built at the Pudu Jail site, most likely using your taxpayers’ money? [pix source]
Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading), a (relatively, but not quite) sane voice amongst BN MPs, questioned why the government was keen to demolish the historic site instead of preserving it as a heritage site.
“If we are always demolishing, how are we going to build our history? What is going to be build at the Pudu Jail site, apartments? Who will want to buy property where thousands have been hanged? [source]
Exactly! Though I’d prefer to keep Pudu Jail preserved as a museum, it’s just too late now. The next best thing to do is to build a memorial park on the Pudu Jail site.
Pudu Jail Museum remains a wishful thinking [pix source].
7) Plaza Rakyat
Did you know that before Plaza Rakyat became one big construction horror, it once housed the Selangor Chinese Recreation Club Football Field?
I only found out recently through reading anecdotal stories from old Kuala Lumpur residents.
“In those days, our members used to meet often to play cricket, football, hockey and tennis at nearby fields. We use the Selangor Chinese Recreation Club field where the current Plaza Rakyat LRT station sits, the postal field in Jalan Imbi which is not maintained and the railway field in Brickfield which has been closed for years,” reminisced Selangor and Federal Territory Eurasion Association (Saftea)honorary general secretary, Joseph De Souza [source].
Terrence Chua, 74, remembers the long gone football field near the Puduraya bus station, where the Selangor Chinese Recreation Club players used to train and hold matches. He used to watch the matches on the field which now houses the abandoned Plaza Rakyat mixed development project. Legendary footballers like Santokh Singh and the late Mokhtar Dahari had football fans on the edge of their seats whenever they played on the field [source].
The greenery belonging to the Selangor Chinese Recreation Club, the Postals Sports Club and many others have been replaced with multi-story structures of concrete in the name of development [source].
The Plaza Rakyat project, spread over 15.3 acres of prime land in the city centre, was first mooted in 1995 by Wembley Industries Holdings Bhd, a company linked to Sarawak-based tycoon Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing (pic inset), in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur City Hall.[source]
His Ekran Bhd was awarded the construction contract for the Bakun Dam in 1994. Ekran ran into financial difficulties during the East Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Unable to complete the job, it was nonetheless reportedly compensated a staggering RM950m. [source]
Plaza Rakyat, which was planned almost at the same time as the iconic Suria KLCC project, was then envisioned as an RM1.4bil multi-modal transport terminus and commercial and residential project in the heart of the capital. The original plans comprised a 79-storey office tower, 46-storey condominium, 24-storey hotel and 7-storey shopping centre.[source]
in 2003, Ting-related company, Global Upline Sdn Bhd, was appointed as the turnkey contractor, taking over from Daewoo Corp, the original contractor who had completed about 30% of the project. However, Global Upline withdrew from the job as it could not accept certain undisclosed conditions. Ting remains chief adviser of Global Upline. [source]
Abdul Khalid (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak) in his supplementary question asked why the project was being handed over from developer Wembley Industries Holdings Bhd, which belongs to Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing, to Global Upline, which belongs to his sons.
“The project has been stalled for 12 years under the original developer. Now it is (being) handed over to his sons’ company. What is the purpose of giving it to those who could not handle it?” he asked [source].
Global Upline did not come up with a plan to revive the project even after it was given an ultimatum by the Government in 2009, who also threatened to hand the project to another developer. When the Government eventually terminated the contract for the development on the 6.322 million sq ft leased from City Hall for 88 years, a court injunction ensued with Global Upline seeking RM1bil in compensation [source]. (Hahaha… life’s good when you’re a crony.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if Merdeka Park, Plaza Rakyat and the ex-Pudu Jail site are turned into Urban Parks? I’m certain that they will be a hit with tourists and locals alike because these parks are very accessible by public transport. KL might have bigger urban parks such as Lake Gardens and Titiwangsa but lack of accessibility to those areas means that they wouldn’t get as many visitors.
By the way, Plaza Rakyat and Warisan MRT will be connected via underground pedestrian walkway, how awesome is that? (See pictures below).
“Too many parks,” you say?
Take a look at Exhibit A – Central London: Four clusters of parks – Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park – so close together and occupying a much, much larger space! And look, they are accessible by seven (or more) tube stations! Turning Merdeka Park, Plaza Rakyat and Pudu Jail into urban parks is definitely not too much green space for downtown KL.
One must realise that shopping malls, no matter how modern, will eventually get old and disused but parks, they are timeless.
Turning Merdeka Park, Plaza Rakyat and Pudu Jail into urban parks would not be a waste of prime real estate land. They would definitely increase foot traffic to the businesses there and besides, the potential health benefits of these urban parks would be priceless.
8) Tugu Negara and Padang Merbok
Get ready to rage: Khazanah owned Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd has been given the green light to develop (I read it as destroy) approximately 26.3 hectares of the last remaining greens in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The said piece of land is a heritage around our National Monument (Tugu Negara) [source] [source] [source].
Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd website
Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) chairman Gurmit Singh said:
“I do not see the rationale in building a theme park. Why does it have to be built in the Lake Gardens area? By doing so, there won’t be much green lung left in the city. TAR’s plan to build the theme park is “absurd”. Why do we have to cater to tourist alone? Let them go around. There is a cultural centre around Jalan Ampang where they can learn all about the country’s history.”
Asked on what non-governmental organisation, like Cetdem, could do to stop such developments, he added:
“We depend on public support. We can’t bring a thousand people to take their objection to the streets. We actually have a limited capacity, and I would like to see the young embark on this issue and voice out as much as they can to object such projects.”
He suggested and encouraged those aware of the project to set up a Facebook page on the issue and all information regarding the project should be made available on the public domain. (So apa macam kawans?)
Firdaus Abdullah, popularly known by his blogging name “Apanama”, asked:
“What is a ‘Malaysia Truly Asia Attraction’ by the way? A theme park, funfair or just another circus where strategic land is flipped many times over till it ends up in some foreign hands?”
Recreating cultural villages and palaces and turning them into theme parks (while destroying real ones) are just so wrong in so many levels .Kota Warisan (to be built on SRJK (C) Chin Woo land) and Malaysia Truly Asia Centre (wtf kind of name is that?!) are just crony projects with huge kickbacks to government politicians.
If go to the Ministry of Federal Territory and Urban Well Being website, the Malaysia Truly Asia Centre is one of the five iconic projects for Kuala Lumpur!
Why didn’t DBKL consult the people before making it their priority project for Kuala Lumpur? Our shady as fuck government is prolly going quiet this time after the huge public outcry over Menara Warisan couple of years back.
P/s: Lake Gardens will be renamed Taman Warisan Tun Abdul Razak? WTF?!
9) KL Metropolis
Did you know that there’s another 100-storey building in the works besides the 118-storey Mega Tower?
A report by the Malaysian Insider says:
KL Metropolis has a gross development value (GDV) of RM15 billion (3x the cost of Warisan Merdeka Development) and comprises 22 office, residential and hotel towers, one landmark tower possibly reaching 100 storeys, two retail centres and an exhibition centre [source].
Naza TTDI was awarded 75 acres of prime land in the upscale Duta area in exchange for constructing a new Matrade convention centre, but the deal had sparked controversy in 2009 as it was decided without a competitive open tender [source].
The Edge even called the land swap deal the Turkey of the Year Award back in 2009 [source].
I mean seriously, what is the need to build new convention centre when ones we have (KL Convention Centre, the current Matrade Centre) are underused?
KL Metropolis land [pix source]
SOM’s Master Plan for KL Metropolis [pix source]
10) Pekeliling Flats
Constructed in the mid-1960s to provide affordable housing to city dwellers, Suleiman Court and Pekeliling Flats (also known as Tunku Abdul Rahman Flats), were the first and second high-rise apartment building in Kuala Lumpur. Suleiman Court was demolished to make way for Sogo.
In 1999, Asie Sdn Bhd won a 99-year concession to redevelop the one-room Pekeliling flats area and expects to spend nearly RM1.5 billion to develop the phase, which will include a centrepiece 60-storey revolving tower costing RM1.1 billion. Asie is controlled by Khalil, who was an aide to the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysia’s second prime minister [source].
In Sept 2013, Titwangsa MP and UDA Holdings chairman, Johari Abdul Ghani, wants the Government to take back the Pekeliling Flats land from Asie and give the concession to UDA to redevelop it [source]. (What a joke! UDA have been given the concession to Pudu Jail land since 1996 and they still haven’t done anything to it and now they want Pekeliling land? Hahaha… )
Wouldn’t it be nice if the riverfront areas (R, Q, A, B, V, M, N, P, X, G, H, J, and C) are turned into an urban park? [Pix source]
University of Malaya Urban and Regional Planning department coordinator, Dr Faizah Ahmad calls for one or two blocks of the flats to be kept.
“From a conservationist’s perspective, the Pekeliling Flats possess significant scientific and architectural value as the first prefabricated system applied in Malaysia, so they should be kept for teaching and learning for future generations. Keeping one or two blocks of the flats would be expensive but could be recovered by renting out the units to new users like young professionals. The refurbished units should not be sold “as we need to retain the units as public amenities.
“As our country progresses to developed nation status, old inner-city neighbourhoods will continue to be threatened with possible demolition and hence, the loss of the city fabric and the values attached to it. We should not discard our legacy but, by the same token, the effort to conserve our legacy should be properly planned and considered from the preliminary stage of the redevelopment projects.” said [source].
Idk man, I feel like Mahathir wants to destroy every trace of development Tunku Abdul Rahman brought to this country. If it wasn’t for the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis, Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara would’ve been demolished as well.
11) RRI Sungai Buloh
Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) wholly-owned subsidiary Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd acquired the 2,330 acres (943ha) of Rubber Research Institute (RRI) land in Sungai Buloh from the Malaysian Rubber Board for RM2.28bil or RM22.50 per sq ft. [source].
Haih… semua pun guna duit EPF. Since the land was bought using EPF money a.k.a rakyat’s money, at least half of the land should be devoted to an urban park, yes?
Seriously, let’s have our own Central Park! I know it’s not in KL but it’s close enough. It will be very accessible via MRT soon (2017?)
I really love RRI Sungai Buloh – the land is so vast and lush! I doubt many people have seen a rubber tree, let alone tried rubber tapping but I did. It was exciting to make your own eraser hahah. Everyone should have the opportunity to do that, don’t you think?
We are ultra competitive when it comes to having the tallest buildings, why aren’t we competitive when it comes to having the biggest urban parks?
Urban parks are good for the economy!
- A cluster of enterprises, events and activities connected to the Central Park generated $395 million in economic activity in 2007, and 3,780 full-time-equivalent jobs;
- The “Central Park effect” added $17.7 billion to the market value of properties near the Park – a premium equivalent to approximately 8 percent of the total value of all Manhattan real estate;
- Hotels in the Central Park area accounted for 37 percent of all hotel rooms in the City in 2008 – 78 percent of those with room rates over $400 per night – and employed more than 14,000 people;
- Museums in the Central Park area – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is located within the Park, and the American Museum of Natural History – are among the City’s leading cultural attractions. Museums in the Central Park area drew more than 18 million people in 2006, and employed 7,000 people.
- Concessions and other businesses and organizations operating in the Park – such as Tavern on the Green, the Boathouse and the Central Park Zoo – directly and indirectly accounted for approximately 1,679 full-time-equivalent jobs in New York City, and $135.5 million in economic output;
- City tax revenues related to Park operations, visitor spending and increased real estate values totaled more than $656 million in 2007 – an amount roughly equal to the total annual cost of the entire Parks Department;
- Approximately 550,000 New Yorkers (about one-third of all Manhattan residents) live within a half-mile from Central Park (for most people, about a 10-minute walk). Another 1.15 million are within a half-hour subway or bus ride. Central Park is thus among the City’s most valuable assets in its campaign to ensure that by 2030 all New Yorkers live no more than 10 minutes away from parks and recreational facilities [source].
Doesn’t the RRI land look like Central Park or Golden Gate Park? [pix source]
Central Park, New York [pix source]
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco [pix source]
It’s kind of obvious that we have zero urban planning compared to these American cities. Look at the layout of these cities – they are so neat compared to ours.