Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
SERI KEMBANGAN -- Strategically located in the vicinity of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and the administrative centre of Putrajaya, Serdang is the major gateway to the south. The comprehensive transportation network of Serdang has made it one of the most prosperous towns in Selangor.
In addition, Serdang is also near to a number of universities and institutions such as UPM, UKM, the Palm Oil Research Institute Of Malaysia (PORIM) and the Multimedia Super Corridor.
Serdang is the biggest among the 42 new villages in the state, and the second largest among 452 nationwide. Occupying a land area of 834 hectares, Serdang accommodates 2,600 households with a total population of around 20,000.
The name Serdang has been derived from a tree called Pokok Serdang. The town has since 1974 been renamed Seri Kembangan.
Tin mining town
The establishment of Serdang is closely associated with neighbouring Sungai Besi which was also famous for tin mining during the World War II. Hoong Fatt tin mine was then the biggest open air tin mine in the world.
Serdang used to be a vast tract of rubber plantations, forested land and mining lakes before it was developed by the colonial government for settlement during the Emergency era. In 1949, the British relocated Chinese residents from nearby villagers to Serdang in a bid to sever the food supplies to the communists.
Over the past six decades, the main road in the new village has been traffic clogged since it is the only exit for local residents. Due to the rapid development, population and vehicular traffic have increased tremendously and the road is no longer able to cope with the traffic.
Whenever a major event is being staged at the Mines exposition centre, motorists would have to take around 45 minutes to travel the 1km journey from the main road of Serdang to the exposition centre.
The first batch of settlers in Serdang were around 300 households, 90% of whom were of Hakka descent. The main sources of income were rubber tapping, tin mining, vegetable farming and pig rearing.
In the 1970s, the villagers slowly shifted from traditional farming and tin mining to furniture manufacturing, construction industry, starfruit farming and footwear industry. Small and medium sized industries such as F&B, electronics, depots, car parts dealerships and printing plants were gradually developed in recent years.
In the 1990s, tin mining industry was completely ceased and the Hoong Fatt tin mine was subsequently redeveloped into the Mines Resort City complete with recreational facilities, hotels, a golf course, shopping mall and an international exhibition centre.
Due to its strategic location, the phenomenon of population ageing prevalent in most new villages is non-present in Serdang as young people prefer to live near their parents in the burgeoning housing estates mushrooming all around Serdang.
Since many graduates would choose to settle down in Serdang, the increase in population around the area has indeed catalysed the growth of various industries resulting in a vibrant town.
There are many small, privately held plots of land in Serdang, resulting in a lack of cohesive development of public amenities.
To solve this problem, the MPSJ has recently drafted a 10-year blueprint for Serdang that includes well planned public hall, places of worship for non-Muslims, schools and children's playground.
74-year-old Wang Tian Shen told Sin Chew Daily that the arrival of striptease shows in 1969 was something unforgettable.
This, coupled with the horrific accident between 13 rubber tappers' lorry and a military truck, remain vivid in the memory of Wang.
"I was strongly against the invasion of striptease shows and had called upon a group of young villagers to launch an aggressive anti-profanity campaign.
"It was a big event back then. Villagers protested in front of the theatre. I was threatened by the gangsters but the show was eventually blocked by the district office in the last minute."
74-year old Zeng Guo Gan, the first state assemblyman for Seri Kembangan, told Sin Chew Daily the 1964 collision between the lorry ferrying rubber tappers and the military truck resulted in the death of 13 workers.
Zeng, together with the then parliamentary candidate for Damansara Chen Kai Xi inspected the site of the tragic incident.