Monday, December 16, 2013

Petaling Jaya, an intriguing mix of the old and the new

Petaling Jaya or ‘PJ’ as it is popularly known is a satellite town located within close proximity to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. PJ was founded by the British, to cope with the population boom in KL, during the 1950’s due to the tin rush in the Klang valley.

The town, which is located in Petaling district, was carved out of the dense jungle, a part of the Effingham Estate. Petaling Jaya’s first settlement consisted of approximately 800 houses situated in the area of Petaling Jaya South. Initially during the 1950’s, PJ was administered and managed by the Kuala Lumpur district office and when KL became a Federal Territory in 1972,the administration of Petaling Jaya was placed under the jurisdiction of the state of Selangor.
The construction of the Federal Highway, after Malaysia gained independence from the British, greatly aided the growth and development of Petaling Jaya, for this highway connected the town with Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang and enabled the rapid development of Petaling Jaya North.  During the 1960’s Petaling Jaya grew expansively, to encompass over 3000 houses, 100 shops and more than 30 factories.
Petaling Jaya’s speedy growth has continued unabated over the years and today, this largely residential community is believed to be home to more than 500,000 people with an adequate representation of each of Malaysia’s three main ethnicities Malay, Chinese and Indian. 

The main attractions in PJ, are its many gargantuan malls namely 1Utama, IPC, Ikea, Sunway Pyramid and The Curve, which attract enthusiastic shoppers from far and wide. Further, PJ’s Sunway Pyramid mall aside from being a large shopping center also encompasses one of Malaysia’s largest and much frequented theme parks, the Sunway Lagoon.
Other attractions in PJ, include its lively Old Town Market, which is famed for it’s many old world coffee shops called ‘kopitiams’. These quaint spots continue to thrive as they serve a variety of native coffee creations like kopi cham(hot coffee with sugar and condensed milk), kopi o(black coffee with sugar), kopi kosong(straight black) and kopi peng  (coffee on ice).

Also worth a visit, is the town’s well-known pasar malam (night market), is held on Monday evenings on the streets of SS2, one of PJ’s oldest districts, which provides much opportunity to shop for various knick-knacks, apparel, home wares and much more.


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