KL and The Architects

Disk 39

The 1991 PACOM conference in Kuala Lumpur ahs given more focus to Malaysia. There is also no turning back of the clock now that K.L. has been nominated the Centre of City Planning. The other Municipal authorities will be viewing K.L. for leadership in city Planning. Planning for people and vehicle’ to maintain and up-lift the quality of life. Al components of the building industry will be viewed and scrutinized constantly. It is an honour for Malaysian and it is also a tremendous responsibility and burden. Can Malaysia maintain and live up to this role?

This responsibility is a collective responsibility. For K.L. to succeed, the Architects must play a role – major role. As the leader of the building industry the Architect must assure the role automatically. K.L. City will need all the support the professionals can give. In particular the Mayor Yang Bahagia, Tan Sri Dato Elyas Omar will need PAM’s support.

Our Mayor has been described in more ways than one as being a visionary who had transformed, spruced, cleaned-up and ‘modernised’ K.L. which, today, is a fast growing city, not without its own problems. Landscaping in and around the city has earned K.L. the name ‘garden city’ is more apt. K.L. as a city has its own vibrant character, quite different to other cities. K.L. cannot be what is today without a capable and competent helmsman. For K.L. to achieve the vision of the Capital of a developed nation by 2020, all sectors must play a more active and responsive role. There ought to be closer liaison, dialogue and bran-storming between architects and the Mayor. Currently the discussion group at JOPIC meeting appears not to produce the described support City Hall is looking for due to the irregularities of the meetings.

Yang Bahagia, Tan Sri Dato Elyas Omar personal commitment towards conservation is already well known. If not for his personal intervention, the PAM Centre (formerly Loke Hall) would have been demolished. To those of us who value our heritage it was a most courageous act on the part of our Datuk Bandar to swap a DBKL property with the then owner of PAM building thereby averting the destruction of this fine building. It click here was fitting that he should officiate the opening of Phase 1 of the restoration and re-furbishing of PAM Centre during the PACOM conference, for the overseas delegates to witness K.L.’s dedication to conservation.

In the area of conservation, City Hall has acquired the Gian Singh group of shophouses at Jalan Tun Perak to prevent their demolition. Prior to the demolition of the Chua Cheng Bok Building at Jalan Bandar, Yang Bahagia, Tan Sri Dato Elyas Omar tried to intervene but was too late and UDA proceeded with the demolition.

It is regrettable that many of us are ignorant of the good things being accomplished for the city of K.L., the people and the quality of life. Credit must be given where credit is due. When the Dataran Merdeka was proposed, there were many opposition – its success and importance is now well known. The March/April 1990 issue M.A. under Editorial had stated:


“Merdeka Square has become very popular with the people of K.L.
There is no place in K.L. where the public can walk, stroll or relax. This
is a first. That it should attract large crowd in the cool evenings demonstrates its usefulness and success. In the day, the Square looks magnificent and dignified,
……..M.A. takes this opportunity to congratulate those responsible for making the first public space possible and into reality”;


and in the same issue under article “Merdeka Square – Restoration of Spirit” stated:


“The K.L. City Hall’s commitment and great effort to turn a potentially chaotic but growing metropolis into a livable an living city is laudable”.


PAM would therefore, take this opportunity to congratulate Yang Bahagia,
Tan Sri Dato Elyas Omar and to reiterate our continued and undiminished support to him for his effort in wanting to transform and prepare K.L. for the year 2020. It would be PAM’s duty to make the Datuk Bandar’s effort and load lighter by providing the backing he requires otherwise, PAM would be failing in our duty for after all, Yang Bahagia, Tan Sri Dato Elyas Omar is a Honorary member of PAM. We had honoured him with membership of our Institute, therefore we must when called to demonstrate by deed our support for a fellow ‘colleague”.