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Batu Arang

Batu Arang is a town in the Gombak District of Selangor in Malaysia. It is approximately 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. In 1908, British officials discovered huge amounts of coal reserves that might be financially feasible and used to power a railway system in the region. When the British began the mining activities, it was then Batu Arang was founded. To carry coal to the rest of the country, a railway system interconnecting Batu Arang and Kuang was established in 1915. Rail services from and to Kuala Lumpur expanded as the coal production and demand increased. Due to the First World War, demand for coal from Batu Arang increased dramatically, resulting in a decline in coal imports.

As Japanese forces entered Batu Arang in 1942, British officials stopped mining operations and demolished the power station and major sub-station. When the Japanese took control of the area, they restored the faulty equipment and employed new miners. However, as they solely focused on surface mining, their mining practices have had a terrible effect on the coal mine. Malayan Collieries resumed mining after Japan surrendered at the end of World War II, but they ran into issues such as Japanese improper mining methods, delayed delivery of new equipment, labour strikes, fires, floods, rising costs, rising coal prices, and competitors of petroleum that are in lower-priced and more desirable fuel.

Many miners and workers left town once the mine closed, leaving many structures ruined. The coal mine filled with water caused soil erosion, and the rail line from Kuang was demolished, thus ending the railway service in Batu Arang. Notwithstanding this, some residents have remained in town, and stores, facilities, and amenities are still open. The town marked its 100th anniversary on 16 October 2011 and was granted heritage town status, boosting the town’s economic prospects and making it one of Selangor’s most prominent tourist destinations.

Batu Arang - Staying in Batu Arang

Multiple roads such as Kampung Baru Kundang, Taman Tasik Puteri, Rawang, and Kundang, are connected to Batu Arang. In 1971, the town’s railway service was discontinued. In 2019, a free bus service called Bus Smart Selangor was reinstated for public transportation; the 31.3 km (19.4 mi) line goes from SK Batu Arang school to Sungai Buloh KTM – MRT train station. Bicycles are widely used in this town by locals for utility biking and non-residents for recreational cycling, and the town’s old bicycle shop is still open.

The government constructed a clinic in Batu Arang in 1970 to provide health care to Batu Arang citizens. Residents can also use the free Smart Selangor bus service to get to clinics and hospitals around Kundang and Sungai Buloh. It stops at these healthcare facilities since the launch of these additional stations in June 2019.

Two sporting facilities were created for various demographics after the township was founded. The Asiatic Sports Club was built for Asian people and it contained a badminton court and soccer and cricket fields. However, this sports complex has been closed since the 1960s, and the structure now holds the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) centre. However, this sports complex has been closed since the 1960s, and the structure now holds the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) centre. The soccer field, as well as the neighbouring basketball court, are in good condition and are still in use today. The European Club was a distinct clubhouse that catered to European residents. Billiards, ping pong, lawn tennis, dancing, and swimming were all provided at the clubhouse. Yet, the clubhouse was decommissioned in the 1970s, and the structure was transformed into a residence.

Amir Jefri
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