The Malaysia book of Records list it as the first shopping centre in Malaysia. Born in 1973, it pioneered the trend for future shopping centres in Malaysia.
Not many Malaysians realised that it is an epitome of 1Malaysia. Why not, it was developed by the Low brothers (Low Keng Huat Brothers Realty Sdn Bhd) and today it is known for an extensive range in Malay fashion. No Hari Raya is complete without a visit to Ampang Park said Ampang Park 1Malaysia Traders Association vice-president Wan Kamal Izzuddin.
It is a cheaper alternative to other more sophisticated malls in the vicinity like Suria KLCC and Avenue K.
As for me, it is still fresh in my mind walking from Kg Baru and crossing the bridge over Sungai Kelang and past the Jalan Ampang Muslim cemetery to go watch movies at Ampang Park - there were no cineplex then. Mind you, I was alone since I had not picked up the skills to attract the fairer sex.
Recently, the owners have received a letter from the Land Office for compulsory acquisition for MRT Corp to build a station there when it involves only a part of it.
DBKL wanted to relocate all the traders in the mall but to where? Details were not available. In business, location is a key consideration.
If they are to be relocated, would they be compensated for goodwill lost? I think MRT Corp would not like to set a precedent for that. Further, ample time should be given to prepare for it.
The owners were given two options. Compensation for land acquisition or sign a mutual agreement which will see them own the surface land while the underground surrendered to the government. With the mutual agreement, Ampang Park will be demolished and a new shopping centre will be built for the owners once the MRT project is completed.
I would offer a friendly advise to the owners of Ampang Park to exchange notes with people from Jalan Sultan to understand what is involved and have a better understanding of any possible issues.
It seems the conditions stated for the shopping centre to remain was not acceptable. The shop owners have to unanimously agree to vacate the mall for at least seven years i.e. during construction and the shopping centre will be closed off with hoarding.
Why does it take seven years to construct Line 2 after having the experience with Line 1 with shorter construction period?
I hope the authorities will not use this “listen, listen, listen” thing but listen to affected stakeholders.
I take my hats off to Prasarana Malaysia Bhd for agreeing to change the route of the Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) which was originally planned to cut through the housing area of Taman Muhibah, Klang to be changed to Pasar Besar Klang at Jalan Meru. The station which was initially planned to be built next to SMK Tinggi Klang will also be changed.
I am sure the owner of Ampang Park will not say “now that you have robbed me of my land, there is nothing for me to do but issue invitations to a war-dance”.
I sincerely hope that the authorities will not end the life of this iconic and the first shopping centre in Malaysia.
Borrowing the words of the lead social development specialist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, Dr Michael Woolcock, he said although economic growth was necessary, it was still insufficient as development involved a four-fold transformation, namely in economy, society, politics, and administration.
While drafting this article, a wave of nostalgia swept over me when I recall buying my engagement ring at Ampang Park at Far East Jewellers about 35 years and 2 months ago... to start the next journey of my life and thereafter gave life to my wonderful children.