Removing relics


Demolition in progress: A backhoe breaks down the walls of one of the pre-war shophouses along Jalan Kem.

PRE-WAR buildings that are in a state of ruins along Jalan Kem in Port Klang are being demolished by the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) in accordance to the law.

Earlier last week MPK had hired contractors to demolish six old buildings as they posed a danger to the public.

Yesterday another building that was in a state of collapse was taken down.

MPK president Mohammad Yacob, his deputy Datin Fadzilah Abd Aziz and engineering department chief Zamri Othman observed the ongoing demolition works.

Mohammad said the council invoked Section 83, Act 133 of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 to demolish all the abandoned buildings.

“We have to demolish the buildings in stages based on legal approvals,” said Mohammad, adding that demolition of four more buildings would be done at a later date.

All work should take two weeks to complete.

“Some of the buildings can be knocked down using a tractor but for others it is being done using sledgehammers to ensure highest standards of safety,” he said.

“Once we have cleared the buildings, the vacant lots will be fenced to discourage indiscriminate dumping.

In discussion: Mohammad Yacob (third from left) and Fadzilah Abd Aziz (in tudung) being briefed on the demolition work.
In discussion: Mohammad Yacob (third from left) and Fadzilah Abd Aziz (in tudung) being briefed on the demolition work.

“Some irresponsible people dump domestic garbage around the old buildings,” he said.

Mohammad added that once plans were firmed up, the council would have a series of townhall meetings for the residents, businesses, port workers and even traders to brief on the development, get suggestions and constructive feedback.

“We need as much public participation as we can gather.

“Our Mentri Besar wants the people’s views to ensure it benefits all in the future,” he said, adding that the redevelopment was needed to ensure the township moved with the changing times.

According to a senior state official with the Selangor Town and Country Planning Department there are plans to revitalise the Jalan Kem area as it was central to the Port Klang township.

Breaking it down: A worker using a sledgehammer to break a pillar of one of the shophouses being demolished on Jalan Kem.
Breaking it down: A worker using a sledgehammer to break a pillar of one of the shophouses being demolished on Jalan Kem.

“Port Klang has reached an age for reurbanisation and we have to evaluate factors that can stimulate and sustain the redevelopment process.

“The township has suffered tremendous population loss when businesses in Jalan Kem closed down and people moved out.

“The new development template is to attract people back and re-ignite economic activities in Port Klang,” she said.

According to the development proposal that is being re-looked at the State Town and Country Planning Department on the intructions of the Mentri Besar Azmin Ali, Jalan Kem would see high-rise projects in exclusive neighbourhoods, SelangorKu affordable apartments and retail stores.

Plans are at an infant stage but is progressing with suggestions to acquire private properties as well as those belonging to KTM Berhad, Customs Department, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, and Immigration Department.

People living and working around the Jalan Kem area are glad that MPK had begun the demolition of the double-storey shoplots there.

Street cobbler Kasiman Ahmad, 63, said it was about time the Jalan Kem area was redeveloped.

“Most of the vacant buildings are too old while others have been ravaged by fires. It is about time we see new buildings. But this must be planned well,” said the grandfather of six.

Accountant Chee Cheen Chen, 51, said upon seeing the demolition works in progress, he believed that the Selangor government and MPK were committed to redevelop the area.

“I grew up at the back of the Rex Cinema, the place was an happening area, but after the North Port Bridge was built, the businesses died off and the area attracted bad hats. Now its a place for drug addicts and prostitutes,” he said.

Chee added that StarMetro’s article last year on the abandoned buildings and the businesses being in the doldrums was good timing as it caught Azmin’s attention who took an interest in wanting to rebuild the township and at the same time help to create job opportunities.

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