Day by Day
Article extracted from The Malay Mail, 16 March 1904
Much has been done of late to improve the town of Kuala Lumpur and make it worthy of its position as the capital of the Federal Malay States. The erection of really fine public buildings, the continuation of what in theory at least is an excellent system of "back lanes" -- a sanitary measure unheard of in Singapore, the filling in of swamps, the widening of roads and streets, the fencing in of unoccupied land, the throwing of new bridges across the river, the installation of the electric light, the patient attempt to supply every house in the town with pure water, the apparently efficient bucket system, and many other minor but equally useful works have been completed, started or sanctioned. With the exception of the water supply, municipal progress has been good.
The water difficulty seems common to Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, and we would suggest that the Colonial Office should send out a commissioner to report on (a) the delay in obtaining an efficient supply and (b) the work now being undertaken to make good the deficiency.
But if much has been done, much remains to be done.
This year will see the widening of Market Street and the junction where Petaling and High Streets meet. At present the very centre of the town suffers from congested traffic through narrow streets. The widening operations to be undertaken this year will partly remedy this, but only partly. The few hundred feet of Yap Ah Loy Street will still remain as a narrow roadway connecting for fine streets. Obviously the present Yap Ah Loy Street is doomed and with its reconstruction comes a magnificent opportunity which will never occur again. The whole of section 16 should be acquired and, after allowing for a chain wide road to connect Klyne Street and the Pudoh Road with Petaling, High and Market Streets, there will remain an excellent site on which to erect a Court House and Police Offices. It would be an ideal site for such a building. The present building, as we have suggested before, would be most suitable for Federal Offices, and with the construction of the new Post Office and Treasury on Chow Kit's corner, it would be possible to reorganise the housing of the different State departments in the present building. The Survey, Lands and Mines could then be grouped together, and the PWD would no longer have to be scattered upstairs and downstairs. The scheme is so obviously practical that it is not surprising to find it meeting with general approval.
The important point at the moment is that the value of town property is steadily increasing and therefore if section 16 is to be acquired -- and practically half of it will have to be acquired for the widening of Yap Ah Loy Street -- it should be acquired at once at the present market value of the property.
Section numbers annotated on an old Kuala Lumpur map. Section 16 mentioned in the article is highlighted in purple.