Petaling Jaya

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.

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