By JADE CHANjade@thestar.com.myPhotos by SAM THAM
SECTION 19 in Petaling Jaya is a neighbourhood with a unique feature – it is split in the middle by Sungai Pencala, from the top near the Sprint Highway to the industrial area that borders Section 14.
The 12km Sungai Pencala flows through twodistricts: the river catchment is located in Kuala Lumpur but most of the river is in Petaling Jaya.
Acting as another “divider” is Jalan 19/1, which divides Section 19 into roughly a 40% industrial area and 60% residential area.
The other main roads that service the area are Jalan Semangat, Jalan SS2/72 and Jalan 19/8.
While the first connects motorists to Section 13 and 14 as well as the Federal Highway, the latter two roads connect motorists to SS2, Taman Paramount and eventually the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP).
“Section 19 was developed by several developers, including Luxor Sdn Bhd,Ken Properties, Muda Bahagia, Dijaya Land Sdn Bhd and RB Land,” said Damansara Utama assemblyman Datuk Lim Choon Kin.
One of the area's most significantlandmarks is the Rothmans roundabout,named after the Rothmans of Pall Mall (M) Sdn Bhd premises (now known as British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT)) in front of one corner of which the roundabout sits.
Across the road (Jalan 19/1) opposite BAT isMenara Merais, a 22-storey office building that was completed in October 1998.Among the beter-known companies located inSection 19’s industrial area are the Toyota showroom and service centre, and the Vitagen factory, which is one of the oldest buildings in that area.
Nanking Court Vegetarian Restaurant, a Chinese vegetarian restaurant located in Jalan 19/3, and Restoran Green View, a Chinese restaurant located in Jalan 19/5, are popular among PJ residents.
Restoran Green View director Tan Jau Wey himself has been a Section 19 residentsince 1987.
“The biggest differences I have noticed since opening this restaurant 13 years agoare that more people are eating out, even on weekdays, and the increase in high-risebuildings,” said Tan.
Standing tall in the centre of Section 19’s residential area is the Jasmine Tower condominiums.
According to Jasmine Tower ResidentsAssociation (RA) chairman S.K. Wong, the 25-storey condominiums, the first in Section 19, have been occupied for the past 11 years.
“Jasmine Tower was built shortly after a firerazed a small section of the squatter area where the condominiums are now located,” said Section 19 RA chairman Tan Yew Leong.
“The land around Jasmine Tower was formerly asquatter area named Kampung Damansara Dalam.The Selangor government started evicting thesquatters in 2003, and the last batch moved out in 2005,” said Section 19 RA treasurer Ng Boon Kin.
Some of the squatters were relocatedto the 500 units of low-cost flats thatwere built near Jasmine Tower, while otherswere relocated elsewhere in Selangor.
The squatter area was torn down tomake way for the development of morehigh-rise condominiums.
According to Ng, the Petaling Jaya CityCouncil (MBPJ) has earmarked the vacantland opposite Jasmine Tower (acrossSungai Pencala) for a high-density commercialarea.
“The residents have met with MBPJofficers many times and voiced our concernthat once additional condominiumsand the commercial area are built, therewill be traffic problems, as well as lack ofspace to expand infrastructure facilitieslike parks.”
“A major portion of Jalan Harapan hasbeen missing since Section 19 was developed.
We have requested for MBPJ to continuebuilding the road from Jalan 19/14right up to the Sprint Highway,” said YewLeong.
“Without Jalan Harapan being completedand upgraded to a main road, trafficwill be even more heavy once thedevelopment is completed.”
Residents also hope that the publictransportation service will be improved.
“The Metrobus (No. 12) and Srijaya (No.99) buses travel along Jalan 19/8 to JalanSemangat, while the Rapid KL buses servicethe SS2 area near the LDP highway.”
“None of the buses pass through Jalan SS2/72,so it is rather inconvenient for Section 19 residents to take public transport,” said Yew Leong.
The RA recently partnered two organisations,Global Environment Centre (GEC) and Danida, to monitor water quality in Sungai Pencala.The organisations donated some equipment tothe RA that the members use to conduct checks at four points along the river.
The results are given to the organisations,which then help the RA with suggestions on how to improve the river quality.
According to Yew Leong, the project was partof the “One State One River” Sungai Pencala rehabilitation programme headed by GEC and MBPJ, and funded by Danida.
“We understand that there are also plans toupgrade and beautify the riverbank and transform it into a recreation area for children to play and the public to jog or walk around,” he said.