FT minister says fine with Jalan Palestin but would rather roads with English names changed instead of Jalan Raja Laut

The Jalan Palestin road sign is pictured during its inauguration on September 26, 2020. — Picture via Facebook
The Jalan Palestin road sign is pictured during its inauguration on September 26, 2020. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has said he agreed with the renaming of a road in Malaysia’s national capital after Palestine.

In a Twitter post, however, Annuar suggested that a road named after historical English figures be renamed instead of Jalan Raja Laut, whom he said was a key personality in Malaysia’s history.

“I have no objection to naming a road in KL Jalan Palestin, as a sign of KL’s support to the struggle to free AL QUDS.

“But I want an explanation for the decision to change Jalan Raja Laut, a major figure in Malay and KL history. Why not rename (roads with) English names such as Jalan Stonor, Jalan Conlay, Cochrane road and others?” he tweeted just shortly before midnight yesterday.

Jalan Raja Laut is named after Raja Laut, who was a penghulu or headman in Kuala Lumpur and the son of Sultan Muhammad.

The other Kuala Lumpur road names Annuar mentioned were named after various historical figures from Malaysia’s British colonial past, with Jalan Stonor named after Oswald Francis Gerard Stonor, who was British Resident of Selangor, and Jalan Conlay, named after William Lance Conlay, who was police commissioner of the Federated Malay States.

Cochrane Road was named after Charles Walter Hamilton Cochrane, who was a British Resident of Perak and held the role of chief secretary to the government of the Federated Malay States.

Although Annuar’s tweet mentioned Jalan Raja Laut as the road renamed as Jalan Palestin, the road that was renamed is actually one named Jalan Raja Laut 1.

The first official announcement — of the renaming of Jalan Raja Laut 1 as Jalan Palestin — was made by the Federal Territories Ministry on September 26 night, with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) then confirming the news on September 27 afternoon.

In a post on its official Facebook page on September 26, the Federal Territories Ministry had announced the renaming of the road with a simple remark stating: “Good job DBKL! Do you know Jalan Raja Laut 1 is now known as Jalan Palestin as a symbolic of us opposing and fighting for the freedom of Palestine from the Zionist Israel regime.”

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page yesterday afternoon, DBKL said an application was made by the Federal Territories Ministry in a May 2019 event to have a road in Kuala Lumpur named as Jalan Palestin, noting that this was intended to be a symbol of Malaysia’s support towards the Palestinians’ struggle in opposing oppression.

DBKL said the process to identify a suitable road to be named Jalan Palestin took a while as it had to be done meticulously, going through the usual necessary procedure for the naming of roads, adding that the name change for Jalan Raja Laut 1 to Jalan Palestin took effect from September 26.

This is not the first time that roads have been renamed in Kuala Lumpur. In 2014, for example, eight major roads in the city were renamed after eight rulers who were the current and former Yang di-Pertuan Agong at that time.

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