DEVELOPED There are now about 1,000 residents in Kampung Pasir, one of the largest and most developed traditional Malay settlements in Johor. People flock there as there are many food stalls and workshops, as well as other specialised services, writes Ben Tan
MANY people know of Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur, the Malay enclave in the middle of the city.
Besides being a symbol of Malay culture, Kampung Baru is also well-known as a place for good food.
What many don’t know is that Johor Baru also has a place similar to Kampung Baru — Kampung Pasir in Tampoi.
Spanning more than 3.2km along the busy Jalan Skudai, and surrounded by residential and commercial areas, the village is a landmark in the Johor Baru North district.
Kampung Pasir, which was established before the 1940s, was named thus as there was once a large sand (pasir) mine in the area.
Long-time resident and traditional masseur, Ishak Ahmad, said that sand was still being mined when he first moved there from Muar in 1954 as a child with his parents.
“At that time, the sand in the area was pure and white. Some said the quality of sand from Kampung Pasir was the best as it had a high percentage of silica,” said the 72-year-old retired fireman.
Ishak, fondly called Pak Sahak by residents, remembers the time when Kampung Pasir was considered a “rural” area. That was when the greater Johor Baru district had not yet been developed.
“It was exactly 57 years ago when I moved here with my family. There were only 10 houses here. They were far apart from each other and most of the occupants worked for the state government.”
Ishak said these days, the area along the main Jalan Skudai road where the bus stand and mosque stood, was very busy.
Originally, he said, Kampung Pasir only had a few lanes — Lorong Satu, Lorong Dua, Lorong Tiga and Lorong Empat.
“This changed in the 1970s when the then town council decided to name the streets after fruits,” said Ishak, adding that many people came from other parts of Johor, namely Muar, Kluang and Batu Pahat, to settle down in Kampung Pasir He said there were now about 1,000 residents in Kampung Pasir. He added that it is among the largest and most developed traditional Malay settlement in Johor.
People flock to Kampung Pasir as there are many food stalls and workshops there as well as other specialised services.
Visitors to the area are often amused by the names of roads and lanes in Kampung Pasir as all have named after fruits — Lorong Manggis, Lorong Nangka, and Lorong Pisang among others.
The roads are interconnected with the main ones, such as Jalan Dato Mohd Said, and leads to other residential areas, such as Tampoi Indah and also Taman Perling.
Many of the homes there are no longer traditional wooden houses of yesteryear, having been replaced by modern bungalows and terrace houses.
Over the past two or three decades, the village was associated with the late Umno veteran, Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, popularly known as Tok Mat, as he resided in the area.
The former information minister and Umno secretary-general made it a point to develop Kampung Pasir, and among the community projects undertaken by him was the Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat Complex.
At present, the complex, which is located along the slip road to Pengkalan Rinting, next to the Tampoi police station and the Region 2 Marine Operations Force headquarters, houses a multipurpose hall, Pulai Umno gallery and also a futsal arena.
His son, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, has taken over his late father’s role and is the current Pulai member of parliament and also Pulai Barisan Nasional chairman.
The young politician, who is also Uda Holdings Bhd chairman, constantly holds events and functions in Kampung Pasir despite his busy schedule.
Johor Baru city councillor and former resident Rashid Kasman said Kampung Pasir is unique as it is an organised traditional Malay settlement within a city.
“Residents here still practise the “old ways” — organising gotong-royong and thanksgiving events.”
Rashid, who was born and bred in Kampung Pasir, said the community spirit among the village residents is still strong and many are proud of this.
“Kampung Pasir residents still practise the simple things in life that many have forgotten due to modern conveniences,” he said.
A younger resident, Raffi Jaffar, 35, said he was very comfortable living in Kampung Pasir as life was tranquil and hassle free.
The motorcycle workshop proprietor added that the location of his home was also a key point as it was strategically located and was less than 10km away from the city centre.