KUALA LUMPUR: Those attempting to rebrand an area should be made aware that its name is related to the past.
Badan Warisan Malaysia president Elizabeth Cardosa said it was high time Malaysians had an in-depth understanding of the cultural, historical and communal contributions that made Kuala Lumpur what it was.
She said developers who have been branding these places were sometimes taken in by the appeal of having the name Bangsar or Damansara attached to their building or address.
“The authorities responsible should be aware that a name does not exist without a historical context,” said Cardosa.
She said Kampung Kerinchi was formerly known as a squatter community and the city which owned most of it had the right to sell its land to developers.
“But in future, the regulating authorities should take cognisance that this name is related to our ties, collective memories, sentiments, feelings and past. The naming of a place presents its identity and it should reflect its history, roots and the people who opened and developed the area,” said Cardosa.
Based on the heritage board’s resources, Kampung Kerinchi’s roots are linked to that of Kampung Abdullah Hukum.
The latter was opened by Indonesian pioneer Abdullah Hukum, who came to Kuala Lumpur in the mid-1850s from Kerinchi, West Sumatra.
Abdullah was the headman of the local Kerinchi community who had accompanied him here, including when he settled in Bungsar Road (now Jalan Bangsar) in the village, which had come to be known as Kampung Abdullah Hukum.
While Kuala Lumpur’s boundaries up to 1924 included Kampung Abdullah Hukum, it did not include Kampung Kerinchi.
As the city grew, the official boundary was extended to include this area in 1954.
Kampung Kerinchi was identified in the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2000 as an urban renewal or redevelopment area.
However, the redevelopment of this area goes back to the 1990s, a decade or more before the Bangsar South development started.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall assists the Federal Territories Ministry in the naming of areas and roads through a committee to confer local names.
It is represented by government agencies as well as private organisations and non-governmental organisations.
The naming of areas, new developments and streets within new developments can be proposed by the developer and the committee will take into consideration the rationale for the naming and whether to approve it.