The Merdeka spirit and KL’s evolution

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

Malaysia’s skyline has transformed so much since the Federation of Malaya gained independence on Aug 31, 1957, largely powered by the growing economy, creation of wealth and the booming property market.

The country’s capital Kuala Lumpur (KL), which was once a mining town, has become the reflection of the country’s independence and economic successes.

Malaysia’s economic boom has also seen millions of homes, commercial structures and business premises spawning all over the country.

KL, which is the country’s nerve of commercial and economic activities, mushroomed into a cosmopolitan.

Millions of people left their states and kampungs to migrate to the capital to seek a better life.

Bangsar, for one, is the reflection of the transformation that has taken shape since independence. From what was the settlement of railway workers living next to the KL-Klang railway track and rubber estate workers, it has morphed into one of the most sought-after addresses in the capital.

Initially the home for civil servants — including teachers, firemen, telecommunications officers and the police — Bangsar rose to become a melting pot of various races and expatriates.

Malaysia’s appeal to foreign companies due to its strategic location in the middle of South-East Asia, developed infrastructure and a strong educated workforce have helped the nation prosper.

Being a multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural society has also opened a lot of doors for the country.

Ease of doing business and incentives introduced over the years have wooed foreigners to make Malaysia their base.

One other area is Mont Kiara, which has transformed into a “city” of its own.

The town, which was a former rubber estate and part of Segambut, has over the years changed into a sought-after international enclave.

Even the founder, Datuk Alan Tong — who was also the founder of Sunrise Sdn Bhd — reportedly said, “I never imagined it would grow into what it is today.”

Other developers flocked into the area, constructing high-rise residential units and commercial areas for the affluent population of both locals and foreigners.

It has all the facilities and amenities that foreigners call Malaysia their home. With international schools and other world-class lifestyles, Mont Kiara has become the benchmark of a true development in the country.

A Home for Many Non-Malaysians
Foreigners have always been attracted to Malaysia. Way before independence during the British rule, the country has been the home for droves of foreigners.

They came to trade and owned some of the world’s biggest rubber plantations.

From providing shelter to its citizens, the 14-state country has also welcomed other citizens via its Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

Through the programme, applicants would receive a social visit pass that enables them to stay in Malaysia for 10 years. However, they must be 50 years of age and above; have clean security and criminal records; as well as being financially stable.

The applications for MM2H have doubled compared to last year, as China contributed the highest number with 11,820 applications, followed by Japan (4,618) and Bangladesh (4,018).

Malaysia also saw an increase in applications from South Korea, Australia and the US.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture targeted a RM7.5 million annual revenue from the programme and until June this year, a total of RM6.4 million collection in visa fees had been recorded.

Therefore, the demand for housing from MM2H, as well as domestic migration to the city, will grow over the years — directly contributing to the country’s economic growth either through house purchases or rentals.

Developers are also becoming more innovative in the challenging market and building remarkable projects, be it the highest skyscraper or the most eco-friendly one.

Malaysia’s property sector is expected to grow and put the country in the same league as many developed nations. It will be a testimony of the country’s independence, growth and success.