Lore behind KL road names

NST Article by SAGER AHMAD  (2009/03/18)

HISTORY, they say, is written by the winners or the people in power.

So, it is not surprising that Jalan Maharajalela was renamed after Datuk Maharajalela.

For those who don’t know their local history, Maharajalela was a Perak chieftain who was said to have been among those who plotted the assassination of the first British resident, J.W.W. Birch.

Birch was taking his bath in Sungai Perak, in Pasir Salak, on Nov 2, 1875, when Si Putom, a trusted Orang Asli servant of Maharajalela, killed him. After a trial at Ngah Ibrahim’s fort, Maharajalela, Si Putom and several other associates were hanged, while Ngah Ibrahim himself, and Raja Abdullah, who ruled lower Perak, were banished.

And what was Jalan Maharajalela called before it became known as Jalan Maharajalela? It was called Birch Road!

A short time ago, there was a small sign below the Jalan Maharajalela sign which read Jalan Birch, indicating to all and sundry what the road used to be called.

Perhaps City Hall should consider putting the sign back in a minor effort to promote tourism through history, as the road near Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Merdeka Stadium and Bulatan Edinburgh is a record of sorts of Malaysian history.

(In Taiping, there is also a Jalan Maharajalela which was formerly called Birch Road. This road, however, still has a sign displaying its old name.)

Kuala Lumpur residents and those who work in the capital will also be familiar with Jalan Tun Perak.

As with Jalan Maharajalela, there was also a sign underneath the Jalan Tun Perak road sign which bore the name Jalan Mountbatten.

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