Located on the southern corridor of Kuala Lumpur, Sungai Besi is directly connected to the downtown via Jalan Sungai Besi, E38 SMART Highway, as well as E9 Sungai Besi Highway (Besraya, upgraded from the original Jalan Sungai Besi beginning the Jalan Istana junction) which runs all the way to Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in Serdang, with a Western extension from Salak South to the MRR2 interchange near Pandan Jaya. In addition, Sungai Besi is also the Kuala Lumpur terminus for E2 North-South Expressway Southern Route, which links Klang Valley to the Southern states of Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore before connecting to the Causeway and Second Link to Singapore.
Sungai Besi is one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest township developments, and boasts a rich history dating back to more than 80 years, being an early area for tin-mining activities. Most of the town’s original structures are still standing, with rows of shop houses built in the 1930s, still in relatively good conditions, thus earning it the reputation of ‘Tertiary Heritage Zone’. Historian J.M. Gullick, in the book A History of Kuala Lumpur, said the enormous Sungai Besi mine was one of the largest man-made holes in the world, covering 12 acres at surface level and 2.5 acres at the working level 80 feet below.
According to Dato’ Muhammad Nawawi Mohd Arshad, the group chairman of Nawawi Tie Leung Real Estate Consultants Sdn Bhd, a greater part of Sungai Besi is occupied by the the Sungai Besi airport, which is the home of Sungai Besi air force base after the passenger service was relocated to Subang airport. Its runway extends from Jalan Istana junction on the North to the East-West Link junction on the South. However, with the Federal Land Commissioner assigning the ownership of the Sungai Besi airport land to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for the development of Bandar Malaysia integrated project, the air force base will be relocated to Sendayan in the Seremban district of Negri Sembilan, where land has been acquired for the new air force base.
AN ESTABLISHED TOWNSHIP
Generally, the Sungai Besi Highway (Besraya) can be divided into North, Central and South sectors. For now, the Northern sector is mostly occupied by industrial factories along Jalan Chan Sow Lin, but with the the proposed Bandar Malaysia development taking off, it will subsequently enhanced the commercial value of the area. In the middle of Sungai Besi is residential suburbs such as Desa Petaling and Salak South, while the Bandar Tasik Selatan, where the integrated transportation terminal – Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) is located. Further South, one can find the Selangor Turf Club (STC) and Taman Tasik Damai, where there is the Lake Fields gated and guarded residence, before the road continues to Balakong, Serdang and Kajang.
Sungai Besi is the home to various matured townships such as Salak South, Kuchai Lama, Desa Petaling and more, while surrounded by established estates such as Sri Petaling, Overseas Union Garden (OUG), Bukit Jalil and Cheras. On the rail-based transit side, besides the aforementioned Bandar Tasik Selatan (BTS), there are also LRT stations in Salak South and Sungai Besi, all served by the Sri Petaling LRT Line that has been in operations since 1998. To ease congestion and to encourage the usage of public transport, the Park N Ride Complex near the Sungai Besi LRT station was opened to the public on 8 February 2013 with 200 extra parking bays. For users’ convenience, it is equipped with lifts, CCTV cameras, toilets and covered pedestrian walkways.
Being an established township, Sungai Besi is equipped with many schools, public and private alike, including vernacular schools and medical centres like National University of Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) in Bandar Tun Razak, as well as the Columbia Asia Hospital in Cheras.
By 2022, what is now the Sungai Besi Airport will be developed into an iconic mixed-use development called Bandar Malaysia, with an estimated GDV of RM150 billion. The 196-hectar site is merely three kilometers away from its twin project Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). This iconic development will comprise of 27,000 quality and affordable homes, and there will also be commercial districts to support new start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Originally to be developed by TRX City Sdn Bhd (formerly known as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd) and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, both subsidiaries of 1MDB, 60% of the stake in the Bandar Malaysia project was sold to a consortium comprising tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo’s Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and their partner China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) for RM7.42 billion on 31 December 2015.
According to the plan, Bandar Malaysia will also feature subterranean shopping malls, a financial hub and indoor theme parks aimed at promoting liveability as envisaged by the Greater Kuala Lumpur NKRA (National Key Results Area), where it will be filled with features that strive for work – life balance, such as open green space and people’s avenue, besides world-class tertiary learning institutions.
When the MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya Line, SSP Line) is up and running in the second quarter of 2022, there will be two MRT stations within the Bandar Malaysia project, namely Bandar Malaysia North and Bandar Malaysia South. Bandar Malaysia South will be the interchange station connecting the MRT Line 2 to the proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak said that Bandar Malaysia would be a modern metropolis with high quality living and good connectivity. The Government is expecting the development to bring in a huge amount of foreign direct investments, (FDIs) starting with the US$2bil (RM8.14bil) by China Railway Group Ltd’s (CREC), which would be building its integrated office complex there.
The High Speed Railway project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was first mooted in the late 1990s but it did not materialise due to the prohibitive cost. On 19 February 2013, Singapore and Malaysia officially agreed to build a high-speed rail link (HSR) between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. According to an update by the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), the commencement of work will begin in 2018, with operation beginning in 2026.
Spanning 350km, the HSR line will have seven stops — two termini in Bandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Jurong East, Singapore, with five transit stations in Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri (formerly known as Nusajaya). The express service between Bandar Malaysia and Jurong East will take 90 minutes instead of four hours by car, while transit (KL – Iskandar Puteri) and shuttle (Iskandar Puteri – Singapore) service will take 120 minutes on the same route.
As the technology is new in this region, Malaysia may follow the United Kingdom’s high-speed rail (HSR) development model for its own HSR system, for example having stricter civil design requirements to ensure the service is safe and reliable. In fact UK is a good example of how efficiently the HSR can be developed with the use of local skills and foreign expertise.
Knight Frank Managing Director, Sarkunan Subramaniam acknowledged that Bandar Malaysia was important for the overall development of KL, and Sungai Besi being right next to Bandar Malaysia would be enjoying a boost in property prices thanks to the project. However, Bandar Malaysia is a long term plan, as in the development will take place in a time frame of 15 – 25 years. Take KL Sentral for instance, it has taken more than 20 years for it to be what it is today, hence the growth of Bandar Malaysia will also take time, making it a long term plan. Of course, it is a good plan in moving forward because it will provide the growth Kuala Lumpur needed.
Central Residence by Yuk Tung Land is one of the latest developments to unfold in Sungai Besi. Located just opposite Taman Salak Selatan, the serviced residence boasts an efficient transportation connection to bustling Kuala Lumpur. It is also connected to major highways such as Besraya, E10 New Pantai Expressway (NPE) and E20 Maju Expressway (KL – Putrajaya Expressway, MEX). For the ease of convenience, the developer has also provided a dedicated shuttle bus service for only a nominal fare which plies the routes to the Bandar Tasik Selatan LRT station, from which residents can continue to their destinations, be it the Golden Triangle or the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Shopping malls such as Pavilion, Suria KLCC and Berjaya Times Square are all easily within reach.
In addition, The Vyne, a new condominium developed by Gadang Holdings is a nature-inspired development, featuring trellis greens and outdoor facilities such as an artificial rock climbing area, herbs garden and ponds, to provide the residents a back to nature feel. The Vyne is also centrally located in Sungai Besi, just next to Taman Salak South with convenient accessibility to all parts of the city.
In terms of groceries shopping and food & beverage options, located nearby to these exciting developments are the 24-hour NSK hypermarket located in Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park. Within that area, there are a multitude of services and products offered ranging between self-service launderettes and car wash shops to electronic goods shops, dim sum eateries and steamboat restaurants.
Other high rise developments completed over recent years including The Leafz and Midfields. The Leafz @ Dedaun Sungai Besi is located along the Besraya, off Taman Salak Selatan. It is a freehold high-rise serviced apartment developed by the Exsim Group of Companies. To provide an expansive greenery to the residents, the developer has crafted a serene hanging garden and a linear garden where the residents can enjoy the tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The project has also lined up various facilities such as sky infinity pool, sky gymnasium, sports lounge and more to cater to the lifestyle of residents.
On the other hand, Midfields is a condominium located at Taman Sungai Besi. It is located close to Salak South and Bandar Tasik Selatan stations, and is easily accessible from 4 major highways – Federal Highway, East – West Link, MEX and Besraya.
Located in KL South, Trinity Aquata is a low-density condominium project with a gross development value (GDV) of about RM370 million. Spanning over 3.58 acres of freehold land, Trinity Aquata is located just 1 km away from TBS, and is accessible via Besraya, Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) as well as the MEX.
Developed by the boutique developer Trinity Group Sdn Bhd, the developer has collaborated with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to invest RM3 million to improve the infrastructure surrounding Trinity Aquata @ KL South, including to widen the existing Jalan 1/141 by expanding the current two lanes to four lanes, measuring 23.4m wide.
However while Sungai Besi has seen a rapid growth in its infrastructure, Khalil Adis, the founder of Khalil Adis Consultancy Pte Ltd and director, REI Mediaction Sdn Bhd says that the township planning of Sungai Besi could be have been better, as the current land use and urban planning are clearly designed for a car-centric society, without prioritising the needs of pedestrians or public transport users.
“I live in Sungai Besi and I experience first-hand the hassles residents here go through on a daily basis. For example, while the Integrated Transport Terminal (TBS), LRT, KTM Komuter and KLIA Transit stations in Bandar Tasik Selatan are located within close proximity, it is not safe to go from there to the nearby residential blocks, because the pedestrian bridge ends halfway, which means one has to walk on the highway against the flow of traffic before they can reach their homes. Likewise, in order to get to Sungai Besi LRT station, you need to walk on the highway against the flow of traffic. This has dampened the willingness of residents to take public transport.”
“While I believe that Sungai Besi has a lot of potential for growth, as it is going to be the site of Bandar Malaysia which will house the High Speed Rail station to Singapore, there still needs to be a strong political will by the various stakeholders to make things happen. For example, the authorities must ensure that residents can have easy access to the LRT stations, with frequent feeder bus services to close the ‘last mile connection’ by fetching them from the stations to where they actually live. There also needs to have clearer and better signage on bus stops to and for the LRT stations,” says Khalil.
He added that authorities should also plan proper park connectors to connect various public parks, playgrounds and residential areas with the existing pedestrian infrastructure seamlessly, and the City Hall should also enforce the municipal laws vigorously, to ensure the upkeep of city, and to prevent the unethical people from dumping garbage or construction debris everywhere.
Sungai Besi is a good place to invest in and will provide a good return of investment to investors in the long term, as the properties here are still affordable with plenty of room for capital appreciation. However, the current deficiencies in poor urban planning, lack of decent access to nearby public transport and lack of greenery need to be addressed by the relevant authorities in order to enhance its appeal.
CEO of REI International Holding Sdn Bhd, Dr. Daniele Gambero agrees that Sungai Besi is a goldmine where you can make money through property investment – in condominiums, serviced apartments and residential units, because of its well-crafted connectivity to highways and public transportations such as LRT as well as the upcoming MRT Line 2. The HSR which connects Greater Kuala Lumpur to the southern region including Singapore will certainly open up Sungai Besi to a lot of opportunities and growth potentials. Hence he advised that one should focus on Sungai Besi to enjoy the fantastic growth, especially watch out for the projects that will unfold around the stretch between Bandar Malaysia and the Sungai Besi toll plaza.
In conclusion, Sungai Besi has a lot of potential to become the next city centre of Kuala Lumpur. With great accessibility, international connectivity and Bandar Malaysia as a catalyst for future integrated developments, Sungai Besi is set to transform from an established matured township to a hotspot close to the city where residents will have the options in choosing their preferred transportation mode, allowing them to commute to the towncity or to their work place with ease. They can also shop easily for groceries in retail hubs nearby, catch a blockbuster movie in cineplexes such as MBO Desa Petaling located nearby, or go for a jog at Bukit Jalil Recreational Park. These are the convenience we believe most people will be looking forward to, living in an area integrated with bundle of entertainment, transport and recreation amenities.
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