January 23, 2019
A commentary by Zaidi Azmi
THE renaming of Bangsar South back to the original Kampung Kerinchi was always his GE14 battle cry and a month after the May 9 elections, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil reiterated his commitment to the cause but when D-day (Saturday) came, the media, he claimed, misreported it.
Instead of a name-change, which he had said in June 2018 will be done in his first 100 days in office, the proclamation of Kampung Kerinchi was basically a grandiose reminder of how the area in which Bangsar South sits in is in fact called Kampung Kerinchi.
Some backgrounders are necessary here. Bangsar South is a posh 60-acre residential and commercial enclave that is located at the southern end of Kampung Kerinchi. Eventually the high-end neighbourhood, along with its surrounding areas, ended-up being collectively identified as Bangsar South, much to the chagrin of some locals.
And what further fuelled Fahmi’s political crusade to revert the area to its original name was when a high school there had reportedly altered its address from Kampung Kerinchi to Bangsar South.
But the question is, was the area officially gazetted as Bangsar South by the KL City Hall in the first place or was this a mere classic case of a brand name that, over time, becomes a widely accepted generic term?
Property developers familiar with the Kampung Kerinchi-Bangsar South debate have argued that Bangsar South developer, UOA Development Berhad, did not apply for the contentious name change.
“The developer did not change Kampung Kerinchi to Bangsar South. They named their development Bangsar South. The branding was so strong to the point that nobody calls it Kampung Kerinchi anymore,” said Zerin Properties founder Previndran Singhe last year.
Another developer who wanted to remain anonymous argued that the Kampung Kerinchi-Bangsar South contention was similar to the birth of Setia Alam.
“SP Setia Berhad bought a large parcel of land in Shah Alam for a development called Setia Alam and along the years, people started calling the area as Setia Alam but the place is officially still Shah Alam,” said the developer.
The fact that establishments within Bangsar South and Kampung Kerinchi share the same postal code – which is 59200 – coupled with the lack of announcement from City Hall – unlike when it changed the name of several roads in KL few years ago – were indicative that an official de-gazettement of the area did not happen.
A former high-ranking staff of City Hall had also echoed a similar view over the non-existent de-gazettement but this however contradicted Fahmi’s claim last year that senior officers from the City Hall had also disagreed over the purported name change.
Why City Hall has until today continued to not demystify the matter is anybody’s guess but Fahmi’s toned-down plan, from renaming to reminding, made the entire hoo-ha looked like a merry-go-round that comes to nothing, except for the upcoming erection of several welcoming arches in Kampung Kerinchi.