Saturday, November 05, 2005

An about-turn from the days of old

Metropolis, a new column on everything you wanted to know about a neighbourhood, features highlights, its history, places of interest and the goings-on in the area. Today, JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ stops by at Damansara Perdana and Mutiara Damansara

THE view of Damansara Perdana from Perdana View Condo is impressive.

It overlooks a well-planned bungalow housing area while the surrounding hills offer a sense of peace.

Even better is the constant waft of wind that sweeps through the condominium’s pool sides.

The skyline 'littered' with popular names.
“The location of Damansara Perdana is excellent,” said Damansara Perdana Exclusive Condo residents’ association secretary Nicholas Tay. “It is ideal as everything we need is in the vicinity.”

Tay, 35, is one of several young married couples who have made Damansara Perdana, developed by MK Land Holdings six years ago, their home.

It was previously the Orang Asli Temuan settlement.

Today, the area features medium-cost and high-cost condominiums with modern facilities, such as the Emerald, Metropolitan SQ and Armanee Condominium. There is also a Perdana Business Centre in the vicinity.

“Residents are mostly couples who are below 40 years old,” said Tay. “I find the location Petaling Jaya’s best.”

Mutiara Damansara, the commercial hub nearby, is made up of popular establishments such as Ikea, Ikano Power Centre, The Curve and Tesco Hypermarket.

Formerly a palm oil plantation estate, Mutiara Damansara has been developed by Mutiara Rini.

Ismail … ‘now we have a permanent house’
Today, it is a popular destination for families from all over Klang Valley.

Mutiara Homes Residents Association chairman Syed Nasurudin Al-Aidid agreed with Tay.

“Most families shop in Mutiara Damansara,” he said. “For those living in the vicinity, schools are within easy reach in Bandar Utama and Taman Tun Dr Ismail.”

Mutiara Homes is located opposite the shopping area and consists of double-storey houses, bungalows, condominiums and more shop lots.

Like in Damansara Perdana, families at Mutiara Homes are also young couples.

Syed Nasurudin said Mutiara Homes community was a united lot. This, he said, was evident from the association’s activities to enhance security recently.

“Although we have social gatherings from time to time, we are even better united where security issues are concerned,” he said.

“A few months ago, we held a gotong-royong to fix barbed wires and shredded glass pieces on a border wall to prevent break-ins,” said Nasurudin.

The commercial hub is busy, not only on weekends, but on weekdays too.

While Ikano Power Centre, The Curve and Ikea provide wholesome family activities, Cineleisure Damansara is a centre for youth. It is a five-storey entertainment, lifestyle and leisure mall that features a 10-screen Cineplex.

The entertainment outlets, concept stores and food outlets are designed to attract the younger crowd, aged between 14 and 24.

The secondary target group is those who are 25 to 40 years old.

Soon to be completed, the mall will also feature an outdoor youth park and is keen on holding activities like X-Games.

A family returning home after shopping at The Curve.
Amidst massive development at the two areas, there is still a small group of Orang Asli at the Desa Temuan settlement in Damansara Perdana who go about their lives at a leisurely pace.

“Those days, we lived in make-shift huts and moved about the jungle, but now we have a permanent house,” said community leader Ismail Cat, who is better known as Tok Batin.

“Most of us do odd jobs at constructions sites and some work at factories,” he said. “Some still make a living out in the jungle at the hills.”

Ali Siham, 46, is one such resident who goes to the jungle to collect banana leaves everyday. He sells them to traders at nearby Kampung Pencala.

“I usually leave about 8am and will be back by 1 or 2pm,” he said. “I sell one bundle of leaves for RM1. I usually return with about a dozen bundles.”

The settlement has 147 houses and has facilities such as a school, community hall and a museum that displays Temuan heritage.

Both Mutiara Damansara and Damansara Perdana are easily accessible via a few highways – Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and Pencala Link.

Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Yong Dai Ying said the two areas were located in Petaling Jaya’s Golden Triangle.

“The areas are a major shift from the older part of Petaling Jaya and we anticipate a two-fold population increase in the next five to 10 years.”

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