On New Year’s Eve, it’s finally time to say goodbye to Malaysia’s first ever shopping centre — Ampang Park — which has paved the way for other malls in the city such as Pertama Complex in Chow Kit which opened in 1976, Sungei Wang Plaza in 1977, as well as Kota Raya and Sogo which opened in 1991 and 1994.
The four-storey building that has been operating since 1973 will be torn down to make way for the Ampang Mass Rapid Transit station, however, many business operators are finding it hard to bid farewell to the 44-year-old shopping mall.
This is such a devastating announcement, as Ampang Park has never stopped attracting visitors even with newer shopping malls popping up around Kuala Lumpur.
Undoubtedly, it had built a steady clientele, particularly among the middle-income group who are looking to relax, shop, do business or just grab a bite to eat.
It was three years ago that the shop owners were told that Ampang Park was to be demolished to make way for an underground walkway for the MRT line, which has been designed to integrate with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) network.
After almost a year-long battle to save the mall, on 30th June 2016, the High Court eventually dismissed a legal challenge filed by 39 premise owners and renters against the plan to tear down the mall.
“It is cruel. We were told that the utilities would be turned off at midnight on Dec 31. Imagine that, while others celebrate New Year’s, it will be lights out for good here,” said Haby & Wools shop owner Jennifer Lee with tears welling up in her eyes.
The shopping centre was the brainchild of Tan Sri Low Keng Huat and his brothers, modelled on People’s Park, the first shopping centre in Singapore.