The Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line was opened for full service on 17th July 2017 as Phase 2 of the line service, from Semantan to Kajang Station was completed to connect the Phase 1 service that was started on 16th December 2016 from Sungai Buloh to Semantan Station. It was launched by the former Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak. Currently, the second line, named as the Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya line or SSP for short, is currently under construction. Here at LOCCO and me myself as a history geek, allow me to highlight historical sites you may overlooked or missed along the SBK line.
The SBK line serves commuters from Sungai Buloh, to Kuala Lumpur and the Cheras-Kajang suburbs of the Greater Kuala Lumpur. Along this line, many have already known or not some of the main attractions offered near the stations. Do you know that two out of the four IKEA stores in Malaysia are located near the MRT SBK line? One is in Mutiara Damansara and one in Cheras. Besides the modern attractions Lembah Klang has to offer, there are some of the prominent historical sites located along the line. You may be surprised that there is some hidden history that you may know one or two while reading this article. Here are the 4 historical sites you can reach from the SBK line
1. Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
The acronym TTDI is a no-brainer. Everybody in KL knows this place. It’s one of the most affluent residential areas in all of Kuala Lumpur and one of the most expensive places to live in. There’s so many restaurants, you can find any food to your liking. Hipster cafés with good coffee? Check. Mouth-watering burgers? Definitely. Mamak? Chinese? Malay? They’re all here. Foods and expensive tastes aside, there’s one place in TTDI that you can’t have anywhere else of its grandeur in Kuala Lumpur. It’s Taman Rimba Kiara. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the famous park where there is a community effort to protest the plans by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to build a luxury condominium housing project on the sites of Taman Rimba Kiara. It is one of the most unique places in Kuala Lumpur where you can find a large recreational park in a bustling city suburb in Kuala Lumpur. This is why it is so precious to the residents of TTDI. It provides serenity, calm and one of the hangouts for people to mingle around and organize social activities for you and your family too. It also houses some of the attractions and commemoratives sites like the Sri Maha Mariamman and the Peace Garden. This Hindu temple is older than the age of the park itself, it was built in 1937, way before this park was commissioned as a nursery and a recreational park. The park also has activities planned in this park, do check their website too, its volunteer driven and there are some pictures of the activities held in the park. To reach Taman Rimba Kiara, stop at MRT TTDI station and have 10-minute walk to the park, or reach by taxi, which may cost less than RM5, depend on the traffic too.
2. Muzium Negara
The National Museum’s history starts in Perak, 135 years ago. The Perak Museum was established in Taiping in 1883 by the British during the Federated Malay States era. During that era, there were 2 in the FMS, in Perak in 1883 and another in Selangor in 1899. There was one in Sarawak, established in 1888 but then, Sarawak was still a separate Kingdom under the Brooke Dynasty. The current National Museum building was built in 1962 on a temporary museum building on top of the old Selangor Museum building. The old building was partially destroyed, caused by the bombs fell by the Allied Air Forces during the Second World War, when Malaya was a Japanese colony in 1945. The building took inspiration from the iconic traditional Padang/Minangkabau architecture like the Seri Menanti Old Palace in Negeri Sembilan and was designed by Ho Kok Hoe. Supported the building, there lies 13 main pillars below both wings of the Museum, to resemble the 13 states that formed Malaysia. SYMBOLISM! This building was officiated by the 3rd Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Putra in 1963, the year Malaysia was formed. In this museum, you’ll find a plethora of artifacts, antiques, and manuscripts and some fossils too. You’ll go through a journey through time about the history of the Malay world until our country’s history. In 2033, we will witness the 200th year of the establishment of the first museum in Malaya. That’s history right there. The tickets are cheap, as low as RM2 for Adult Citizens and RM5 for Foreign Nationals. Drop off at Muzium Negara station and the Museum is right beside the station entrance. It is also accessible from KL Sentral MRT walkway.
3. Pasar Seni
Popularly known as the Central Market as it was previously served as the main goods and wet market in Kuala Lumpur. Now it is a national landmark where you can find plenty works of art and culture. They also have scheduled performance on stage just in front of the main façade of the Central Market. Do also check out the Drop Pin too, taking examples from Amsterdam and Dataran Merdeka. You can show the world that you’re there. Kasturi Walk is also located just beside the Central Market. It’s main attraction? A giant Wau, a Malay flying kite, dominantly associated with the East Coast in Peninsular Malaysia. Take your time finding souvenirs, you’ll surely be spoilt for choice.
Another attraction is the Petaling Street. It’s a famous Chinatown area also a short walk from the MRT station, it’s mainly famous for haggling and cheap counterfeit goods. If you’re an original aficionado, do refrain, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is just a few stations ahead. Do you know that the site of the current Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is built on the former site of the historical Bukit Bintang Girls’ School? It is recorded that the school is oldest established school in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re of a cheapskate, why not give it a try. However, please do mind about your safety and prepare yourself for preventing being scammed. If you want to find yourself a bargain, do inspect and prepare for a haggling tug of war with the shopkeeper. Both sites are a few minutes’ walk from the MRT station.
On the 31st of August 1957, in Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, Tunku Abdul Rahman shouted the words MERDEKA! for 7 times, on a stage with the Malay Rulers and the British Colonial Bureaucrats and Leaders, in front of a massive crowd of Malayan citizens, replied the call, with euphoria and hope once in a word. This historic stadium has witnessed many important moments of this country’s history. Now, mostly unused besides concerts, do explore the rich history of the stadium, where its structure remains as if it was in 1957.
Besides Stadium Merdeka, is the Stadium Negara, it once served as the national indoor stadium before replaced by Axiata Arena (Stadium Putra) in Bukit Jalil in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Another historical occasion occurred here in 1992, as the Malaysia national badminton team won the Thomas Cup in front of a joyous crowd after long years of frustration of not winning the cup since 1967. Today, this stadium is a regular venue for concerts.
Here are a few of the historical sites I include in this article. Do tell us what’s your experience in the MRT and having a trip to historical sites near the MRT in the comments or what we missed?
Have a good trip!