Monday, 13 March 2017

Kuala Lumpur Central Market 1888

Kuala Lumpur Central Market began in 1888 as a few long building by the river in Kuala Lumpur. The market was expanded in 1889, 1920 and 1928. A brick building was built in 1928 and ready in 1937. Mohd Amin (Mat Amin Pasar) passed away in 1936, before the brick Kuala Lumpur Central Market was ready. He probably worked in the renovated old market buildings, before the brick one was ready.

From Pak Saleh (8 June 2011):
Mohd Amin @ Mat Amin Pasar worked at Pasar Kuala Lumpur, now known as Pasar Chow Kit. He would only eat fish of a certain size - eg ikan parang not less than 8 inches wide.

Mohd Amin was better known as Mat Amin Pasar. He lived in Kg Baru, KL.
What did the market look like during Mohd Amin's time?

Pasar Chow Kit today is a big brick building and overflows outside into makeshift tents and fruit stalls. The stalls inside sell beef, mutton and vegetables. The fruits stalls are managed by Indonesian migrants.

When did Mohd Amin work? For whom did he work? What post did he hold?
How much did he earn? He had 4 wives and 21-25 kids, how were they supported?

The post of Inspector of Markets and Abbatoirs, Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur, was held by a whiteman, a colonial officer. There is no record of a Malay man holding this job.

- Did Mat Amin work as Inspector of Markets and Abbatoirs, Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur?
- When Mohd Amin was in office is unknown
- Mr. C. A. Newman served in 1903
- Salary for KL Municipal Health Dept was $1,992, ie lower than for Singapore and Penang
- KL market was cheaper to inspect, @ $768, compared to Singapore
- When was the Markets and Abbatoirs section set up in KL?

Salaries allowed for the Municipal Health Departments in Singapore, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur:
- Singapore          $26,682
- Penang              $8,532
- Kuala Lumpur  $1,992
Inspection of markets cost:
- Singapore         $3,852
- Penang ?
- Kuala Lumpur  $768
TST 1July1901 p3


Mr. C. A. Newman
 - to be inspector of markets and abbatoirs,
   Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur
   on 6 months probation
- Mr R. W. Bowring Darke
  district surveyor
  granted 3 months vacation leave + 12 mo on half pay
  from 4 Feb 1903
- Mr A. M. Pountney
  protector of Chinese Selangor and Negri Sembilan
  returned from leave, resumed 6 Feb 1903
TST 13Feb1903 p5


Mr. C. A. Newman,
Inspector of Markets and Abattoirs, Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur,
on six months' probation
TST 14Feb1903 p4


An Inspector of Markets has been appointed in Kuala Lumpur
on a salary of £150 rising to £210 by triennial increments of £30.
TST 18Oct1904 p4

State of the Kuala Lumpur Bazaar and Markets 1900-1936

(1) During WW1

Kuala Lumpur Bazaar
- mainly German and Austrian goods
- British goods were just about to break into the dominant German-Austrian market
TST 31March1915 p10

A Hylam Fish Ring
- long-time monopoly of fish brought in from the seaports by a Chinese group
- another group at the market helped to stabilize the price of fish
TSFPMA 29July1922 p3

Food Control
- food profiteering
- raised price of milk
- cost of local products also went up
- native seller: Sekarang mahal - fasal prang tuan!
- fish and eggs became expensive - fasal prang
- sekarang ada banyak Ekan German lowan sama lain Ekan
- itu Eyam banyak laku sekarang, dan dengan itu semua pong besar boom! boom!
  dia takut bikin telur!
- need a special committee
- need one committee member, a hotel keeper or caterer
  to go to market daily, or nearly daily, and report to this committee
- prices should be fixed and "rings" broken up and any trouble arising
- foodstuff vary in prices by 50% in the country
TST 8Oct1918 p8

(2) After WW1

Fresh eggs for the market, by-pass middlemen
TST 3Oct1932 p5

Terrible state of Kuala Lumpur markets
TST 3Oct1934 p10

KL markets
- KL Sanitary Board
  Chairman: Mr. J. V. Cowgill
  1. Messrs. H. B. Talalla
  2. J. R. Vethavanam
  3. John Hands
  4. D. Sear
  5. L. Y. Swee
  6. H. S. Lee
  7. Dr. H. M. Soo
  8. Che Ahmad (unofficial, Malay rep) ............. also written as Che Ahmat in another 1935 account
  9. Che Abdul Rahman (unofficial, Malay rep)
 10. Dr. R. D. Gross (Health Officer)
 11. Mr. L. A. Thomas (Chief Police Officer)
 12. Mr. E. M. Sykes (Protector of Chinese)
 13. Che Samah (District Officer)
 14. Mr. T. G. Husband (Town Engineer)
 15. Mr. R. N. Thambythurai (secretary)
- present market was generally condemned in its present condition
- whether to construct a big central market, or a series of
  markets serving different districts
TST 15Feb1935 p12

Proposal for new markets
TST 16Feb1935 p13

Central Market for Kuala Lumpur
Discussion on question of site
- the Markets Committee favoured the proposal
  to transfer the market to the site of the old
  Victoria Institution in High Street
- Chairman: Mr. J. V. Cowgill
- the Board is of opinion that the present Central Market is
  unsatisfactory in many ways, and recommends that it be replaced
- this Board requests Government to provide the necessary funds
  in next year's estimates
- the present Central Market is unsatisfactory for the needs of the town,
  and it requires immediate replacement
- plea for the Malays
- Che Ahmat said: "As a Malay member of this Board, and a Muslim, I would
  like to be assured that this market will not have a pork-stall
  under the same roof. If it does, I must ask that a note be made to the
  resolution that the pork-stall should be housed in a separate building.
  Pork as a food is forbidden to the Muslim. In order that the religious
  feelings of the Islamic people of this country may not be wounded,
  I humby suggest to this meeting that the matter be given serious
  consideration and an entirely separate building for a pork-market
  be designed and estimated for.
  Such an action would be in consonance with the policy of the
  Government wherein the Islamic religion should not be interfered with,
  a policy which has existed since British protection of this country.
  It does not concern me where the site of the pork-market should be,
  but such building should be a separate one and some distance away
  from the general market."
TSFPMA 8March1935 p9
TST 8March1935 p12

Bicycles left at KL market at owners' risk. Bicycle shed will be removed and owners are free to park anywhere without charge.
- Mr. John Hands, M.C.H., Kuala Lumpur Sanitary Board
- Markets and Street Stalls Committee
- Major G.M. Kidd, chairman.
TST 9Jan1936 p13

Still Dissension About KL's Market
TST 2April1936 p5

KL markets controversy
TSFPMA 3April1936 p3

Picture-postcards (ppc) belonged to Bapak and his father, Walid.

It is said that Mat Amin Pasar served at the marketplace in Chow Kit. Chow Kit then and today have different buildings and features. He could have covered a wide area that was early Chow Kit, including the Market Square in KL, the narrow alleys in between colonial buildings and makeshift stalls.

Bapak and his father (Walid, Tok Walid) shared many photographs and picture-postcards (ppc's). Among them were photos and ppc's of markets in Kuala Lumpur. Most of Tok Walid's photos are dated to 1937.

These images below are from the combined collection of picture-postcards (ppc) and photos belonging to Tok Walid (Mohd Yusope bin Haji Mohd Sharif) and Bapak (Haji Abdul Rashid bin Mohd Yusope).

Market Square, Kuala Lumpur (ppc) before cars came to KL, before 1930s. There are only rickshaws parked under the tall trees. There are no street lamps in view.
Market Square, Kuala Lumpur (ppc) when cars came to KL, after 1930s. The tall trees have been removed and only a narrow strip of plants remain. The initially rickshaw parking space has become a parking space for cars. What car models are these? What year were they manufactured?
Market at Kuala Selangor (ppc), where fresh fish from the sea were landed by fishermen and were brought to Pasar KL
Photograph of sellers selling fresh produce in narrow alleys between huge colonial buildings, 1937. Which part of Chow Kit was photographed? There is a left front part of a vehicle at the left corner of this photograph. What vehicle is that?
Photograph of sellers selling fresh produce in makeshift stalls in Kuala Lumpur, 1937
The old atap roof KL Market buildings were constructed in 1888.

The brick Central Market in Kuala Lumpur was built in 1928 and ready in 1937.
It is a solid boxy building and looks like a building in Manhattan or New York - ie, out of place.
It is extant (still satnds), but is painted light blue - not a nice colour. It was a wet marker before, but became a dry market selling handicrafts and paintings when I visited it last. It was dark inside and felt more like being inside Fremantle Markets in Fremantle, Western Australia.

These photos of the early KL Market and KL Central Market were obtained from Facebook (FB).

Central Market 1888 - 1927

Market by the river

Medan Pasar (Old Market Square)

A blogger's reflection of Central Market or Medan Pasar (edited 6 July 2016):
I remember my father will always drive pass Central Market, which at the time was a wet and dirty market, to park his Peugeot 305 in nearby Bank Pertanian Malaysia as it was closest to my mom's and his office in Medan Pasar and Leboh Ampang before continuing our journey to the colonial-looking Sin Seng Nam coffee shop for some serious breakfast- Chee Cheong Fun, soup noodles and steamed bread with kaya and butter.

The marketplace in Kuala Lumpur developed in 3 stages:
  1. Pasar Kuala Lumpur ... probably open-air and surrounded by shop buildings, with parking for cars and lorries etc.
  2. Central Market ... Pasar Seni which we have today.
  3. Pasar Chow Kit ... which was built in 1955; demolished in 2016

(i) Pasar Kuala Lumpur
Mohd Amin was entrusted by the British to look after the Kuala Lumpur market (later known as Chow Kit market, and he as Mat Amin Chow Kit).
Mohd Amin most probably worked as Penguasa Pasar Kuala Lumpur.
The Kuala Lumpur market functioned in the open space before the 1930s. There are picture postcards of this early market.

(ii) Central Market
The Central Market brick building that we have today, was still in the planning stage when Mohd Amin passed away in 1936.
The Kuala Lumpur market gave way to the Central Market after Mohd Amin passed away. This market could support a larger community as Kuala Lumpur developed.
Mohd Amin passed away in 1936.

(iii) Pasar Chow Kit
Another more modern multistorey Chow Kit market brick building was built in 1955.
Chow Kit market today is a brick building and sprawls onto the surrounding roads in makeshift tents and hawker stalls.
External links to Central Market:,_Kuala_Lumpur

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