Rawang: A place of many firsts

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 19, 2019 - August 25, 2019.

Commercial shoplots in Rawang town

The workforce of the industrial market [in Rawang] drives the residential demand.” — Foo

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One of the earliest satellite towns in Kuala Lumpur, Rawang was established in a tin mining area in 1825. In the 1950s, the British came up with rubber estates there and then, in the 1970s, private companies started oil palm estates.

Today, Rawang is a popular location to reside, with major developers such as GuocoLand (M) Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Gamuda Land, S P Setia Bhd, Low Yat Group Bhd and Bandar Raya Developments Bhd building properties there.

“Industrial activities are present in and around the area, including in Serendah. The workforce of the industrial market drives residential demand, both for purchase and rental,” says CBRE | WTW managing director Foo Gee Jen.

Rawang has a KTM station and is accessible via several highways, including the Rawang Bypass, Guthrie Corridor Expressway, Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway and North-South Expressway.

Apart from having a slower pace of life, the town is also surrounded by greenery and is close to recreational sites and golf courses.

According to Foo, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of landed properties over the past five years is 6% and the rental yield stands at 2%. EdgeProp.my puts the median sale price of such properties at RM146 psf or RM200,000 per unit.

A 1,604 sq ft house in Bandar Tasik Puteri by Low Yat Group was sold for RM170,000 or RM106 psf in April while a 1,765 sq ft house in Mah Sing Group Bhd’s M Residence was transacted for RM949,800 or RM538 psf in January.

A 1,238 sq ft condominium unit in T-Parkland by B&G Property was sold for RM440,000 or RM355 psf in November last year while a 850 sq ft unit in Laguna Biru by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd was sold for RM180,000 or RM212 psf in December last year.

Based on listings on EdgeProp.my, high-rise residences with built-ups of 700 to 1,300 sq ft have asking rents of RM300 to RM1,350 per month. Landed properties with built-ups of 900 to 3,000 sq ft have asking rents of RM700 to RM3,500 per month.

The average price psf for non-landed and landed properties are RM106 and RM1,919 respectively, lower than the state average of RM237 and RM2,085.

 

Home of country’s first cement factory

Rawang is a place of many firsts. It had the first electric generator, installed by the British to mainly support the tin mining industry. Thus, it became the first town to have electric street lights and a railway station with lamps and fans powered by electricity.

In 1953, the country’s first cement factory was built in the town to capitalise on mining sites vacated by the tin miners, who had moved westwards to Batang Berjuntai. Today, Lafarge Malaysia Bhd’s Rawang cement plant is still in operation in Jalan Kuang.

After the establishment of the cement factory, Rawang saw continual growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Many light industrial schemes were built, generating many job opportunities and driving population growth in the area.

When the North-South Expressway was opened in 1994, it gave a major boost to the town and its surroundings by providing swift access to Kuala Lumpur.

 

Foodies’ heaven

Restoran Lan Je in Taman Setia Rawang and Restoran R Cheng Fei Zhou Yu Wantan Mee in Kampung Dato Lee Kim Sai are famous for their tilapia fish dishes. The former earned its reputation for its “one fish per person” concept, and its steamed tilapia fish with bean sauce is a favourite among patrons.

Restoran R Cheng Fei Zhou Yu Wantan Mee is unique as it serves wantan mee with tilapia fish instead of barbecue pork. Patrons can choose from five sauces for the fish — ginger, soy, curry, bean and garlic.

The third-generation-run Sin Loong Kee Noodles in Kampung Baru Kundang is best known for its handmade lau shu fen or rat tail noodles, so named due to their shape, which resembles a rat’s tail. The noodles come in dry and soup forms and are accompanied by fried meatballs and mincemeat, stuffed tofu pieces with onion oil, and fried shallots and spring onions for garnishing. Do take note that the stall is only open for breakfast.

Another breakfast spot in Rawang is Kedai Kopi Yee Kee in Kampung Dato Harun. Enjoy a slice of egg Swiss roll with thickly spread kaya as its filling as well as the butter cake, pandan cake and salty pancake. Other than pastries, the wantan mee here is also well known. It has many extra ingredients such as fried tofu skin, curry chicken with potatoes, long beans, cabbage, fish paste and chicken drumsticks, in addition to the usual barbecue pork, wantan, chicken feet and hakka fried pork. The shop’s signature dish is the mulberry tea combined with herbal tea and an egg in a bowl.

Also located in Kampung Dato Harun is a restaurant that serves Thai food but does not have a name or signage. Hence, the locals have dubbed it “Restoran Tom Yam” or “Serendah Tom Yam” because of its signature tom yam soup. Its sambal petai and fried fish with special sauce are popular as well.

A local favourite is Nesan Curry House in Pusat Bandar Rawang. This restaurant serves many types of Indian food such as idiyappam, tosai, kothu parotta, idli, pal appam, kuzhal puttu, capati and chicken varuval.

For western food, step into Ho Ho Food Station, located next to Restoran Lan Je, in Taman Setia Rawang. The chicken chops are the best sellers, especially the one coated in salted egg sauce. The grilled chicken thigh is also on the list of most ordered items. Other food on the menu include pasta, fried rice, satay chicken chop and cempedak cake.

 

Made for nature lovers

Rawang is a heaven for nature lovers, thanks to its rainforest reserves, lakes and parks. Templer Park, a 1,214ha rainforest reserve with a waterfall that is a popular spot for hiking and camping, is one of its prominent landmarks. The Templer Park Rainforest Retreat and Templer Park Country Club are located there as well.

About 2km away from Templer Park is the Taman Eko Rimba Kanching Waterfalls, which has a seven-tiered waterfall. At each tier, there is a pond that is suitable for swimming. It is a great place for camping or a picnic.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Forest Park and Resort is located in Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve and covers over 1,482 acres. Established in 1993 to mark the 14th Commonwealth Forestry Conference, the park fell into disrepair until Future World Avenues Sdn Bhd took over the management of 642 acres and rebranded it to include the resort.

The Commonwealth Forest Park and Resort caters primarily for team-building events and seminars, but smaller groups and day trippers are welcomed as well.

The Tasik Biru Seri Kundang, a recreational lake in Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang, is equally well known. It used to be the largest mining area in Rawang and one of the largest in Selangor.

There is also the Selangor Fruit Valley, which allows visitors to experience agricultural life first-hand and taste fresh produce sold by local farmers. Developed by Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor, a subsidiary of the state government, its attractions include the Tropical Fruits Farm, Herbs & Spices Garden, Selangor Traditional House, Deer Park and Rabbit Park.