Categorised | Pictures

Fall of an icon

FOR decades, Jaya Shopping Centre, better known as Jaya Supermarket, in Section 14 was the landmark in Petaling Jaya. It housed the first supermart in the area when it was built in 1974, and for most of the 80s and early 90s, it was the focal point of activities for PJ residents.

As the city grew, and newer, bigger shopping malls became the flavour of the day, Jaya lost its lustre. Its owners decided to redevelop the area and the tenants were asked to vacate the blue building by 6 Feb 2008.

But on the afternoon of 28 May 2009, the empty building, which was undergoing upgrading works, suffered a partial collapse when a demolition operation went badly awry.

Nine people, all Indonesian construction workers, were trapped when the back portion of the six-storey building came down. As of 10pm that night, there has been one confirmed fatality, and two workers rescued. The search for the six other workers remained ongoing.

More than 100 police and rescue workers, including Smart, the Civil Defence Department and Rela members, were on the scene. Police had to constantly remind the hordes of curious onlookers to stay back and allow the rescuers to do their jobs.

The incident also caused a massive traffic jam on busy Jalan Semangat.  Favicon

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8 Responses to “Fall of an icon”

  1. Johnny says:

    Disaster aside – great photos!

  2. Charles F. Moreira says:

    Actually, Thrifty Supermarket (now housing a Giant supermarket) on Jalan Timur across from the PJ Hilton (formerly Jaya Puri) was the first supermarket in Petaling Jaya, when I moved here to live in Section 17 at the end of 1970.

    At that time, Jaya Supermarket had not been built and the highlight of Section 14, Petaling Jaya was the wet market and Medan Selera, an open-air food court housing 49 hawker stalls.

    If I recall right, it was only in the latter part of the 1970s or early 80s that Jaya Supermarket was built.

    I noticed two heavy tracked bulldozers with a backhoe (digger) attachment on the upper collapsed floors of the section which had collapsed and wonder whether they had contributed to this.

    These can be seen in the pictures you took.

    As for being an “icon,” well I won’t describe it as such.

    As a resident of Section 14 of nearly 20 years, the building is old and its internal layout of the shops which faced outwards onto a corridor which ran around them is contrary to the modern concept of them all facing inwards.

    The layout of Jaya Supermarket resulted in those shops close to the escalator prospering, while those at the back apparently did not fare as well and some were even empty.

    There was also a misalignment of parking floors of the tower block, resulting in rather awkward stairs which people had to climb up or down to get to the lift lobby in the older six storey building.

    Thus I guess it was necessary to renovate or rebuild the whole building to fit in with modern times.

    That said, I still have fond memories of the place, which not only housed a good supermarket, hardware, music, book, pharmacy and computer stores and places on the ground floor where we could hang out and enjoy a coffee or food at reasonable prices.

    Parking in the surrounding Section 14 commercial centre was and still is a nightmare and with this collapse it will only get worse, However, I often walked up to Jaya Supermarket and spent a Saturday or Sunday afternoon there.

    It will be sadly missed.

    Also pity the poor workers and I hope justice will be done.

  3. KW Mak says:

    Much of what caught your eyes caught mine as well. You two captured the atmosphere at the scene as it was. Good job indeed.


  4. Charles F. Moreira says:

    Sorry. Thrifty supermarket was located on Jalan Barat, in the same building where Giant is today.

  5. siew eng says:

    Great photos in terms of capturing what went on at the scene of a disaster and the various aspects of the rescue operation, but I hope journalists were not always cordoned off like that (otherwise, how would they be able to report all that was going on). While the concern may be for the safety of all, perhaps the National Union of Journalists can get the International News Safety Institute to train them on how to report safely, which will be a much-needed skill as I foresee more industrial and environmental disasters ahead since the authorities seemed to have not learnt from past lessons at all. And there is also that damaging court verdict on Highland Towers that gave the local council legal immunity from liability.

  6. Main says:

    An icon indeed.

  7. Was supposed to go to Jaya33 for gym. Goodness, there’s a sight.

  8. Emily says:

    Idiocy aside – great comment!

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