Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Deserted Towns

In Malaysia, development tends to concentrate on three metropolitan areas – Klang Valley (which includes Kuala Lumpur), Penang and Johor Bahru. Elsewhere, youngsters migrate to these three metropolitans (and Singapore) in search of jobs, education and excitiement. The consequence is that many small towns are losing people and declining.

I recently drove along the national trunk road between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. I visited a number of ‘deserted towns’ which lied along the road. One of them was Trolak.

There were two rows of shops on the both sides of a small road. But most of the shops were closed…

I spotted an MCA branch, but wasn’t sure if it had been abandoned…

Another town I visited was Chenderiang. It wasn’t really deserted. Given its remote location, however, I am not optimistic of its future…

This is the town of Temoh. The shophouses are tenanted, but not opened for business. I saw another MCA branch here…

And finally this is Sungai Raya. The buildings here are the most run down among the towns I visited. The only shop which was still opened was a barber shop (bottom right). The traffic was actually quite busy here. Unfortunately, the vehicles just passed by…

Can these sleepy towns be saved? What do you think?


  1. like the paintings color

    A smile from SJ =)

  2. I think those towns are doomed

  3. I have heard of Trolak but never drove past that town. Those sleepy towns can be revived if development is introduced?

  4. u r being kind by calling them deserted towns....they are usually known as dead towns :(

  5. so many many years olr future,we all cant see all the building.

  6. SJ
    You like the painting colors? Haha... that's not the message I wanted to convey...

    Borneo Falcon
    Yeah, sad...

    Mei Ting
    Trolak is located north of Slim River.
    If there is development, the towns can be revived. But that's a big 'if'.

    Dead town, ghost town, or whatever...

    I think these are pre-war buildings. But if there is no development, these buildings won't be bulldozed!

  7. i think when the oldies there pass on one by one, those towns will really be dead because there are hardly any youngsters would stay in a kampung like those.

  8. One thing missing in Trolak...

    ... Tumbleweed rolling past the town!

  9. No these ghost towns cannot be saved. And I wouldn't want to go there! I am a city boy! Haha! : )

  10. Sad to see these go because they make up our history, the architecture and stories and all. If these towns were to be saved or prevent young people from leaving to find employment in bigger towns or cities, development will need to include major industries and proper infrastructure. Massive turnaround needed.

    Thanks for taking the trouble to stop by and take pictures to share with us. I am touched by the state of affairs in these deserted towns. The shops in the last picture are in extremely bad shape and may not be able to be preserved. Those in the top two do not have enough aesthetics to preserve.

    However, it's good to see fresh paintwork on pictures #3 & 4 before entropy sets in.

  11. Hmm very slim chance that they will be revived...

  12. Chances are rather slim, sad to let go but have to face the facts of life its impermanence!

  13. Sadly, Perak which was once Malaya's richest state has a quite a number of deserted towns. Your pictures remind me of Gopeng too. Even Ipoh main road (Hugh Low Stree) looks like a ghost town at night.

  14. hmmmm, i don't even know about the existence of these towns!! they are so alien to me..

  15. It reminds me of these small North American towns that get killed every time a WalMart opens nearby... sad.

  16. foongpc
    I was a small town boy, and I feel sad about their state.

    Happysurfer, witch
    Yeah, tough to revive them...

    Thanks for dropping by :)

    Autumn Belle
    Ipoh can be lively during the weekend, but that's because of tourists.

    Ha... it happens everywhere.

  17. With urbanization and everyone mocing to big city like KL, this is the fate of all small town.

    and KL will explode...

    City planning need wisdom and compassion and that is easier said than done

  18. The fate of those ghost towns will depend on a stroke of luck if some mega project surfacing near any of them. Airport or Disneyland?

  19. 1ondoncalling
    Sorry, missed out your comment earlier.
    Tumbleweed? Maybe in 10 years time.

    KL has already exploded.

    Trolak is closest to KL, so it has better hope.

  20. Sleepy towns can be saved. The local government need to start attracting investments to these places, build factories, offices, warehouses etc... using low cost as an incentive.

    Amenities attract community settlement.

  21. Shingo
    Local governments in Malaysia are lame. They merely carry out orders from the federal government.

  22. ive passed one unique town on my way from melaka to port dickson last year too. and find it nice, but also quiet and run down. our cities are getting more crowded each year. most of my friends, like you said are in these major cities.

    i guess thats that is the price for development. in some ways, i think its ok. as long as the cities continue to grow well - for the people :)

  23. Is really sad to see such news...but thankfully you have raise some awareness. I do hope these town would be preserved as it is the local history of our older generation.