Visit Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur – Past and Present (Part 2)

I received a lot of encouraging comments for the first part of the series. Thank you very much to everyone. At least my effort paid off seeing people enjoying the post. Without further a do, here comes the second part of the series.

1. Flyover at the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

The flyover with the railway station and the railway company headquarters building visible c. 1965

In this circa 1965 photo taken from R.S. Murthi’s website, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and the Malayan Railway Company headquarters are clearly visible. The road also looks relax as there were not so many cars back then.

The same flyover – 2014

In 2014, the same flyover is still there but a lot of other things surrounding the area had changed. The most notable changes is the increased of traffic. Traffic jams are common as the road can no longer sustain the volume of traffic. Apart from that, the road beautification project saw trees being planted along the road, causing the railway station and the railway company headquarters being partly hidden by the trees.

2. Central Market

Central Market c. 1982

Central Market was formerly a central wet market for residents of Kuala Lumpur. Having established itself since 1888, the wet market was relocated to another place in the 1980s subsequently turning this old heritage building to a new market – a market for local arts, handicrafts, souvenirs and cultural performances. In this circa 1982 photo acquired from The Star, motorcycles and rickshaws can be seen parked in front of the main entrance to the market.

Central Market’s facade – 2014

Today, the facade of the market remains relatively unchanged. It still have the same design it had several decades ago. The visible changes are the words ‘Since 1888’ which was the year it was established, as well as a new coat of paint. Besides that, rickshaws are not available anymore throughout the city and there are dedicated parking spaces for cars and motorcycles. As such, the front part of the market is now accessible to pedestrians only.

3. Government Offices

Government offices c. 1920

In the 1920s, this building was known as the Government Offices. This is the administrative centre for the British Resident in Kuala Lumpur and the British administered the Federated Malay States from this building. Little did they know that about 37 years later, this will be the place where the Union Jack is lowered and changed to the flag of the Federation of Malaya. Photo taken from R.S. Murthi’s website.

Same building, same spot – 2014

Today, the building is used as the office for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Previously, it had also been used as the Supreme Court building. Now known as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, only the center court is currently utilized while the other parts of the building seems to be unused. It is one of the buildings listed as a heritage building. Read more on the building here.

4. High Street / Jalan Tun H. S. Lee

High Street c. 1975

High Street in 1975 was busy and bustling as can be seen in this photo taken from R.S. Murthi’s website. Situated near the city centre, it was (and still is) the location of the oldest and richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. In 1968, a new structure was added to the temple, the 5-tiered gopuram (tower), clearly visible on the right side of the photo.

Jalan Tun H.S. Lee – 2014

In 2014, the street is known as Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, in recognition of one of the founding fathers of the nation. The lanes seem smaller than in 1975 and it is now a dead end road, as the construction of the MRT is taking place at the end of the road. The gopuram at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple is still visible, despite the design of the whole temple looks slightly different. At the background of the photo, skyscrapers are mushrooming, shadowing the one and only skyscraper visible in the 1975 photo.

5. Petaling Street

Petaling Street c. 1992

In this photo from The Star, Petaling Street or Malaysia’s Chinatown is seen to be full with Chinese lanterns. A lot of vendors selling their stuff under umbrellas by the roadside and a guy is seen cycling in the middle of the road, looking over at the street. The arch reads: Vision 2020 Petaling Street. Vision 2020 is the idea mooted by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, for Malaysia to become a developed nation by 2020.

Petaling Street in 2014

6 years until 2020 and Petaling Street is still a bustling walking market with vendors selling things from fake goods to roadside food. To cycle in front of the street is almost impossible with the traffic. A new arch was constructed to replace the old one and the street is now a pedestrian street where it is closed for vehicles. There is also a large TV screen and the whole street is covered by a roof to prevent rain and heat from deterring people to shop. However, from my recent visit, I noticed that many vendors are not locals but instead they are immigrants from Bangladesh, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

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23 thoughts on “Visit Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur – Past and Present (Part 2)

    1. Thanks for the support Lily! :)

      Seronok! Lepas ni kalau ada rezeki and masa, jom try buat Melaka pulak. Tapi, kena cari gambar2 lama Melaka lah! Hehehe

  1. Great comparison of old and new photos!

    Love that they still use the facade of the ‘Central Market’ :-) … btw, I’ve just realized that there’s no longer 2020 written on the new arch? :-o

    1. Thanks bro!

      Yeah, they are using the same facade and for Petaling Street, apart from the missing 2020, there is also the English name for Jalan Petaling, which is Petaling Street ;)

  2. It has always sadden me whenever I passed by Sultan Abdul Samad building that this heritage structure is left unused, waiting for old age to catch up. It is such a waste of architecture gem. I seriously have no idea why they shifted the Supreme Court away.

    Again, nice article and I enjoyed reading both your entries. The old and new pictures working side by side is a nice touch.

    1. The thing is the new courthouse is so difficult to be accessed via public transport. And yes, I was sad when I was walking pass the building. A lot of rubbish and in the state of despair.

      Wait for Part 3 yeah? ;)

  3. Looking forward to part 3! I grew up in KL in the late 1970s and it is wonderful to see KL then and now.

      1. HI Khai

        We lived in Bukit Tunku, which I hear is a very rich and privileged now. I tried looking for our house on Google Earth, but although I found the road (Dalaman Tunku), I couldn’t see the house for all the trees! It is most likely that the house has been redeveloped as it was in a prime location, but wasn’t very big. A shame because it was very pretty – probably not luxurious enough going by what I have seen on the internet!

        But I have very vivid memories of where we lived, going to school, the Lake Gardens, visiting my father at work (the Guinness Brewery). It was a very happy time :)

      2. Ahhhh Bukit Tunku!

        It is considered as one of the elite places in KL. There are a few bungalows and as far as I know, the place is soooo quiet with big trees around. Some of the houses were abandoned too and rumours said that they are haunted! Haha. I don’t know if it is true or not though.

        And Guinness Brewery, is it the one in Petaling Jaya, now beside the Federal Highway? Wow a lot of changes since your childhood days I supposed.

        Why don’t you have a visit to KL soon? Let me know if you wish to, maybe we can meet! ;)

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