Kampung Kerinchi folks are rejoicing as today marks the return of the area's old name. Pic by NSTP/NURUL SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Kampung Kerinchi folks are rejoicing as today marks the return of the area's old name.

This means the area will no longer be known as Bangsar South as it is once again Kampung Kerinchi.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil along with dignitaries from the current ruling government, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar made the official announcement during a launch event in Kampung Kerinchi, here, today.

The appearance of the two heavyweights at the ceremony points to the importance of the announcement.

“I made a promise to the people of Kerinchi to honor this place and its history as well as culture during the campaign (14th General Election) and now I am honoring that promise.

“There is a rich history here in Kampung Kerinchi. Why should we be ashamed that it is called 'kampung' (village)? Many great people come from here, we should not push aside our roots,” said Fahmi during the event.

As for Anwar, the Port Dickson MP has a more personal history with Kampung Kerinchi dating back to his days as a student at nearby Universiti Malaya (UM).

“When I was active in UM going to protests and demonstrations, Kampung Kerinchi is the place we come to hide.

“People here were kind to us. Regardless of whatever political parties, they welcomed us into their homes to keep us safe until the heat died down. I will never ever forget Kampung Kerinchi and its people.

“Just because we want to achieve a modern and technologically advanced country, it doesn't mean that we have to forget our roots and heritage. The word 'kampung' does not mean backwards. It is remembering our roots and the values that we want to maintain as we become a modern country. Kampung Kerinchi is that place,” Anwar said.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil (4th from left) along with dignitaries from the current ruling government, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (3rd left) and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (Right) made the official announcement during a launch event in Kampung Kerinchi, here, today. Pic by NSTP/NURUL SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN.

Nurul Izzah put it simpler by stating that the people in Kampung Kerinchi and Pantai Dalam had accepted PKR before many others in the country did.

“The people in this 'kampung' accepted us and we want to give back. The local authorities and the developers should not just build tall buildings and neglect what the people want and need. There is so much heritage and culture here and we will do better here for the people,” the former Lembah Pantai MP said.

Fourth generation Kampung Kerinchi resident, Baharuddin Hassan, 68, said his ancestors came here from Sumatera after they were chased away by the Dutch and resettled here.

“We still use 'Bahasa Kerinchi' here, especially amongst the closest families. We want to preserve our unique language, culture and heritage.

Kampung Kerinchi got its name from the Kerinchi regency in the Jambi Province on the island of Sumatera.

“When they started calling it Bangsar South to make it sound modern or western, we can't do anything much about it. But YB Fahmi understood us and wanted to correct the situation and preserve what we have here. So this is a great day for the people here,” Baharuddin said.

Fifth generation, Abdul Hakam Jamaluddin, 34, echoed his agreement.

“Kampung Kerinchi still has the same friendly culture and values of welcoming everyone who comes here. We are proud of our heritage, our culture and our name. For those who do not know us, the word Kampung Kerinchi may mean just a kampung but for many, it means a lot more.

“Our values, our heritage and history have contributed much to the development of the city and country without sacrificing our core values. It's about time that we are proud of the name Kampung Kerinchi,” he said.

MP Fahmi said he was moved by the values of the people in Kampung Kerinchi since he started serving here as their representative.

“They are hard working and generous people.

"In fact they have so much to contribute and the values and heritage here should be preserved for future generations,” he said.