FIFTY years ago, Petaling Jaya was a small residential place. Most of it was rubber and palm oil estates and tin-mining areas.
V. Prasannan, 75, who has lived in Petaling Jaya for the past 45 years, said Old Klang Road and Jalan Templer were the only main roads in Petaling Jaya in the 1950s and early 1960s.
There were no industrial areas and most of the people worked as government servants in Kuala Lumpur.
Either that or they worked in the estates. Property prices were as low as 30 sen a square foot and the cost of living was cheap.
But then, Petaling Jaya was a well-planned town, even from the beginning, said Prasannan.
Over the years, progress and growth have transformed Petaling Jaya into one of the most developed towns in the country.
From the two main roads, Petaling Jaya today has roundabouts and flyovers connecting various parts of the town.
Buildings have sprung up like mushrooms and thousands of people from all over the Klang Valley flock to shopping complexes in Petaling Jaya over the weekends, while thousands more travel in and out of the town to work during the weekdays.
Due to huge demand, property prices have gone up to RM100 per square foot today.
There is also an industrial hub and job opportunities are aplenty.
Major highways, such as the Damansara-Puchong Highway, cut through Petaling Jaya which is also a hub for students to further their studies in universities and colleges.
Facilities such as bus and train services are easily available, while hospitals, libraries and sports complexes are within easy reach.
It is now a busy town with lots to give to people. Compared to the old times, it has more facilities to offer and everything is nearby, added Prasannan.
In fact, Petaling Jaya has developed so much that it fulfils the criteria set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry to acquire city status.
Petaling Jaya North MP Chew Mei Fun said Petaling Jaya was ready to be a city because it had developed much over the years.
In fact, in some criteria, Petaling Jaya is much better than what the ministry has asked for.
Although it can still be upgraded in terms of infrastructure, with city status there would be more funds for more improvements to take place, said Chew.
Damansara Utama assemblyman Datuk C.K. Lim agrees.
Lim said though Petaling Jaya was developed both economically and socially, it still lacked other facilities like a museum.
Petaling Jaya must be given city status. It is already developed but with more funds, there can be better facilities for the people, said Lim.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Datuk Dr Lim Thuang Seng said Petaling Jaya deserved to be given city status because it had achieved much in a short time.
He said Petaling Jaya should be given due recognition.
Also, with more funds that comes with city status, it will motivate public servants to serve better and keep up to the peoples expectations, said Lim.
Bukit Lanjang assemblyman Yong Dai Ying said Petaling Jaya should be given city status because it had fulfilled the criteria needed for it.
On the other hand, long-time resident Joel Lim, 66, from Bukit Gasing, said the town deserved city status because it was developed, but preferred the old Petaling Jaya better.
Should Petaling Jaya be given the city status? Yes. But personally, I prefer the old Petaling Jaya because it was not crowded with cars, people knew each other and crime was almost non-existent, said Lim, who has lived in the town for 35 years.
Derek Fernandez, 40, who has lived in the municipality for 24 years, felt that Petaling Jaya should not be given city status, saying it was a centre for family, education, religion and retirement.
Fernandez said Petaling Jaya did not have the infrastructure to cater to a high population density and it could damage the quality of life.
He said Petaling Jaya had developed to its maximum capacity, and there was no room for further development even if it acquired city status.
Fernandez added that instead of focusing on Petaling Jaya, other places in the country could be developed to be like Petaling Jaya.
Instead of giving Petaling Jaya city status, maybe we could provide better quality of life for the residents by concentrating on better services, said Fernandez.
Fernandez said the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) first proposed for the municipality to be given city status in 1986, but 11,000 residents objected to preserve the values of Petaling Jaya.
Meanwhile, Janet Lim, 59, from Jalan Carey, said Petaling Jaya could not be developed anymore because they was no room for development.
Therefore, I dont think there is any need for city status. MPPJ should just improve on the facilities and services to the people by being more proactive.