Thursday March 11, 2004
Sleepy district now bustles with activity
By Ben Tan
ABOUT 10 years ago, Sepang used to be a sleepy small town located on the old road south. The only passers-by were those who chose not to use the North-South Expressway.
Today, thousands visit the Sepang district each month, thanks to both the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the Sepang International Circuit.
The introduction of these two world-class venues has turned the district, located about 85km from Kuala Lumpur, into a hive of activity.
The airport covers about 10,000ha and is situated on former plantation land where oil palm and other agricultural produce were grown.
The KLIA mosque caters to those residing near the airport or the circuit.
The airport has now become one of the most prominent symbols of Malaysia in the Asian region as all international, regional and domestic flights arrive and depart there.
The airport has also managed to propel Malaysia to the forefront of the aviation industry in the region.
Boasting modern technology and architecture, it has been considered the hub of air traffic in the region.
The Sepang International Circuit is another landmark in Sepang.
It is the premier motor racing track in Malaysia and was launched five years ago.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the RM286mil racing track on March 9, 1999.
The circuit is also known for its distinctive architecture.
The 5.542km-long track was built at a cost of RM30mil and construction started in September 1997. It was completed in 14 months.
The circuit caters to more than just international events like Formula 1 and Moto GP racing.
Children gathering near the tower in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi
Popular national and regional level events like the Malaysian Super Series, Asian Festival of Speed, Merdeka Millennium Endurance race and other local races are held there.
Both these landmarks have contributed to Sepang being earmarked as the second Klang Valley and the pulse of Selangor's southern economic corridor.
The district is still developing with new townships, commercial and industrial areas being constructed or already on the drawing board.
Among the first townships to have been developed in the district is Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, which has several mixed residential areas.
At present, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi also serves as home for the Sepang district council, government offices and the commercial centre. It is also known as the “capital” of Sepang district.
A visit there will see city folks charmed by such a small town with two bridges welcoming visitors at the township's entrance.
One landmark is the Empress Hotel, which is the tallest building in the area, and located in the town centre.
In the town centre, visitors will also notice a small bus/taxi terminal as well as the Medan Selera Majlis Daerah Sepang near Taman Anggerik.
Two mosques can be found in the area with the Masjid Sultan Hisamuddin catering to Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi residents and the Masjid KLIA catering to those living near the airport or the circuit.
The township does not offer much but it is a popular stop over for those on their way to Nilai using the trunk road, especially if they’re looking for some food.
Originally published in The Star on Thursday March 11, 2004