'Ulu' Taman Tun now 'a gold mine'

CITY folk in the 1970s, who shunned investing in the new township of Taman Tun Dr Ismail because it was considered in the boondocks, may now be secretly wishing that they had not been so hasty in their judgment.

If they had the foresight to look beyond the location and invested in properties there, they would be sitting on a goldmine today.

Link houses that cost about RM60,000 more than three decades ago, are now selling for RM1.4 million or more with shoplots and bungalows, going for millions more.

One of its early residents, Mohd Badri Mohd Hashim says when he purchased his link house at Jalan Zaaba in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, his co-workers at Tenaga Nasional thought it wasn't a wise decision.

"At that time, people who worked in Bangsar or nearby areas, would live either in Bangsar, Old Klang Road, or Brickfields. Taman Tun Dr Ismail was far, and the roads leading to it were winding with no streetlights.

"People were reluctant to move to this neighbourhood. But when I bought my house, some of my colleagues from the Tenaga Nasional headquarters also bought properties here as they also wanted to vacate their government quarters and move into their own homes," says Mohd Badri, 75.

He said his family had to make major changes to their lives when they moved from a government bungalow to a link house but adjusted soon enough.

"I paid RM58,000 for the house. I took a government loan for RM45,000 and borrowed RM13,000 from my father.

"I have no regrets moving to this neighbourhood and see myself staying here for the rest of my life."

The township, was named after Malaysia's second Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman in 1970.

In fact, many roads in the township have been named after prominent politicians, scholars and journalists such as Aminuddin Baki, Burhanuddin Helmi, Tun Abang Haji Openg, Abdul Rahim Kajai, Tun Muhammad Fuad Stephen and also Tun Athi Nahapan.

According to Wikipedia, Taman Tun Dr Ismail was originally a 286ha old rubber estate land located on the western fringes of Kuala Lumpur bordering Selangor.

Development plans for Taman Tun Dr Ismail began in 1973 when two experienced developers teamed up to form UDA-Seapark Sdn Bhd, a joint venture company between the Urban Development Authority (UDA), the government's arm for urban planning and redevelopment, and SEA Housing Corp Sdn Bhd, a prominent private development company headed by the well-known philanthropist, the late Tan Sri Lee Yan Lian.

SEA Housing owned the township at that time. The area was then considered rural and thought to be far from the city as access via Jalan Damansara was narrow, winding and also unlit at night.

Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents' Association president Mohd Hatim Abdullah says the township offers mixed development with some 6,500 houses.

"In the early years, the township saw more Malays and the property owners were those who worked in Bank Negara and government servants. But as time passed, and the township expanded, other races bought properties here making it a wonderful place for racial interaction.

"Taman Tun Dr Ismail is a good place to raise a family because it is a safe neighbourhood that offers many good schools and great outdoor facilities for families to enjoy. Many of those who sold their houses and moved to other areas, have either come back or are looking to move back here."

Hatim says house buyers were reluctant to buy homes in Taman Tun Dr Ismail when the property was launched in the late 1970s and 1980s simply because many thought the area was a little "outback".

While many parts of Kuala Lumpur offered townships that were closer to the city, Taman Tun Dr Ismail didn't have the pull factor because there was only one main road --Jalan Damansara, that linked the city to the township. And that road was surrounded by jungle and was not properly lit.

"Many also feared driving on that road at night. To make matters worse, there was a low-lying area just after Section 17 before the right turn to Taman Tun Dr Ismail, which was always prone to floods.

"Everytime there was a downpour, the whole area would be flooded and traffic would come to a standstill."