Petaling Jaya Travel Guide

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Petaling Jaya was born as Malaysia's first satellite town to support the fast developing Kuala Lumpur, an economic hub since the 1850s. The Kuala Lumpur of the 1950s, a time when Malaysia was still under the British rule, was also the administration centre of the Federated Malay States, which comprised Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor. Bustling but congested, Kuala Lumpur was soon confronted with critical problems of accommodating its workforce and issues on the building up of squatters. To the British administration, a satellite town was the way out.

The migration from Kuala Lumpur to the Petaling area had indeed started before the town was officially named in 1953 as Petaling Jaya. Denoting success, as taken from the literal meaning of jaya, Petaling Jaya started out as a town of slightly over two square kilometres scattered with low-cost wooden houses built largely by people whose livelihood was to be found in Kuala Lumpur. This little pekan, or town in Malay, was the predecessor of what was to be known as 'PJ Old Town'. The name remains until today and it now includes Seksyen 1, 2, and 3 of Petaling Jaya.

The satellite town began to take shape in 1952 when 800 houses were built and another 200 under construction. In 1954, the Petaling Jaya Local Authority was officially formed. From then on, seksyen (or "section" in English) after seksyen of residential and commercial areas sprouted as rubber and oil palm plantations made way for systematic infrastructure development.

By the end of 1957, there were well over 3,200 houses in Petaling Jaya, along with more than 100 shops and 28 operating factories. The year also saw the opening of the first phase of the Federal Highway (Lebuhraya Persekutuan) which divided Petaling Jaya into two. Linking Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Port Klang, it enhanced PJ's reputation as a strategically located town, particularly in the eyes of industrialists and the affluent searching for prime residential land.

Petaling Jaya reached another milestone in its history in 1964 when its Local Authority status was upgraded to Petaling Jaya Municipal Board. With an extended area of 19.9 square kilometres, the population then stood at 35,100. Relentless progress continued and by 1977, when it was conferred the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) status, it had grown into an expansive town that included Seksyen 52, the Sungai Way-Subang (SS) area and the new township of Subang Jaya. Further expansion to the north later saw the rise of the vast Damansara area, which includes Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Bandar Sri Damansara and Damansara Impian.

Today, PJ's strategic location has made it a metropolis in its own right in the Klang Valley, a bustling area that stretches from Port Klang northeastward to Kuala Lumpur and southeastward to Bangi. Scattering around the 97.2 square kilometres of PJ are modern shopping complexes, international-class hotels, and entertainment outlets that rival their respective counterparts in Kuala Lumpur.

Seksyen 52, the 'New Town' or 'The State', has remained the heart of PJ with the many public, financial and commercial services it offers. Petaling Jaya Hilton, the first international-class hotel in PJ, is found here. Subang Jaya, on the other hand, has gone on to establish itself as the satellite town of PJ. The old Subang International Airport lies just a few kilometres away.

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June 11, 2006 change by bdevil38 (4 points)

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