SHAH Alam city turns 17 today.
Its rapid progress has only earned the admiration of its residents since its development took root in 1963 from an oil palm estate.
This parcel land famously known as the Sungai Renggam oil palm estate in the 1950s, was then selected as Selangor’s administrative centre after Kuala Lumpur was declared a Federal Territory in 1974.
As such Shah Alam was one of the first planned townships in the country.
The then Sultan of Selangor Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj declared Shah Alam, initially an area of 41.69sq km, the state capital in 1978.
It continued to grow and with its last expansion in January 1997, the capital covers 290.3sq km. It was declared a city three years later in 2000.
True blue Shah Alam son, Wan Ahmad Khalid Abdullah, 43, a business consultant, is in total awe of the city.
His love for the city led him to set up a Facebook page called Sahabat Shah Alam where he put up nostalgic photographs of everyday life and historical facts of Shah Alam.
“I started the FB page in August 2015. I realised we did not have a page for the Shah Alam community that tells the story about its early development.
“I had so many interesting memories and old pictures to share,” he said.
Wan Ahmad’s initial plan was to engage the residents especially the old-timers who were interested to relive the old Shah Alam lifestyle.
Public reaction to his pictures spurred him on and today, people are sharing their personal pictures.
Shah Alam’s progress, Wan Ahmad stated, was nothing short of inspirational especially its rapid development into a largely residential enclave.
“Shah Alam is a well-planned city; there are so many houses and commercial buildings built by Selangor Economic Development Corporation (PKNS). Shah Alam offers good job opportunities, from industrial and service sectors to government agencies,” he added.
Its success, said Wan Ahmad, should be credited to PKNS that was responsible for the planning and development of the city in the early stages.
He said Shah Alam was home to many iconic buildings that earned their place on the map including the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque or more fondly known as the Blue Mosque, the Shah Alam Stadium that had hosted major international games including the 1998 Commonwealth Games, as well as the Selangor state secretariat or the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah building.
Complementing the development then was the Shah Alam Municipal Council on Dec 7, 1978.
Its name was changed to Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) when Shah Alam was declared a city.
“MBSA is an example of a successful town council in Malaysia. Any new council should use it as a benchmark for its successful community programmes, enforcement activities and its waste management initiatives,” Wan Ahmad opined.
Shamini Arunasalam moved from Subang Jaya to Shah Alam to accommodate a growing family.
The one thing that caught her attention, she said, was the ample greenery in this Selangor city, something Shah Alam strove to achieve with its green goals.
Shamini, who lived in Bukit Kayangan, said the well-planned and spaced out development were a plus point.
“Moving here was the right decision; the people are friendly, the area serene and most importantly, the traffic volume and flow is much better,” she added.
Despite the laidback lifestyle, Shamini said commercial centres thrived as more people got to enjoy malls as much as the various parks the city.
The ultimate vision she has for Shah Alam is for it to remain green with balanced development and adequate amenities for its residents.
“I hope to see it as eco-friendly as it is today.
“The council has many green practices and initiatives for this purpose, and I only hope it will preserve the natural beauty found here,” she added.
Both Wan Ahmad and Shamini welcomed the council’s free bus service for residents, which was part of the statewide Smart Selangor Bus programme.
“We need to focus on something that benefits the public and at the same time supports green technology and emerging technologies.
“More programmes should be organised to engage the Shah Alam community in recycling practices including recycling kitchen and food wastes as well as enhancing well-planned and effective solid waste management systems,” Wan Ahmad said.