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Situated southeast of Kuala Lumpur, Cheras has emerged as one of Malaysia’s hottest real estate markets. This township was however not what it is now. Over here, we will narrate how the area was first established, as well as its journey to become one of the most sought-after place to live close to the heart of the capital.

How the Township First Began

In the early 1900s, lots of Hakka Chinese migrated to Cheras due to the flourishing rubber plantations and tin mines in the vicinity. Then in the 1930s, a rubber trader constructed 2 rows of 21 shophouses in what is now known as Jalan Pudu Ulu. Those shophouses became the commercial heart of Cheras back then. Unfortunately, 14 of these historical properties were razed to the ground because of a large conflagration in May 2010.

The area where the shophouses were built was called Pudu Ulu as it was considered to be in the middle of nowhere back then. The word “Ulu” may suggest that the people from Kuala Lumpur previously viewed Cheras as a sleepy town in the backcountry.

Aside from that, Jalan Pudu Hulu was formerly a major highway that connects the capital to Kajang. It was also previously the only road to Malaysia’s neighbour Singapore. Sadly, it became less used by motorists when the Cheras Highway was opened.

Origin of the Name Cheras

There are many different stories on how the township came to be called Cheras. According to the book entitled “Malaysia at Random” by Didier Millet, the name could have been taken from the Malay word “tras” or “teras”, which refers to the toughest portion of a tree trunk as the area was once home to vast acreages of forests. In addition, the Chinese dubbed the town “Chiu-Lai” due to the once extensive tracts of banana plantations that existed there.

Others say that it came from the Malay word “Beras” (rice), which was grown abundantly in the area during the past – and that the Chinese mispronounced it as Cheras. A more natural explanation is that the name was taken from the Sungai Teras river. Others say the name was taken from the southern India’s ancient Chera dynasty.

But the strangest explanation is the story of Tok Perimbun, a master of the indigenous martial arts Silat, who was said to have lived in the area. Supporters of this story say that Tok Perimbun had inhuman agility and speed. When he sprinted, the cloth of his pants would make rushing sounds of “cheroh cheras”. This is how the township got its name, so they say.

Historic Milestones of Cheras

A. Township Divided into Two Areas

Previously, the entirety of Cheras was part of Hulu Langat, the fifth biggest district in the state of Selangor. However, part of it was ceded to the Federal Government on February 1, 1974 for the creation of the Kuala Lumpur federal territory.

Consequently, a bigger portion of the township comes with a KL address, while a smaller part has a Selangor address. The former is governed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), while the latter is administered by the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKJ).

B. Cheras Highway Upgraded

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In 1988, Metramac Corporation improved the Cheras Highway. As a result, more vehicles were able to travel to Cheras and the southern portion into the state of Selangor. The better transport network also put the township on the radar of real estate developers.

C. Cheras Leisure Mall Opened

In 1994, Cheras Leisure Mall opened in the township. Back then, it was touted as Malaysia’s first multiplex equipped with an indoor roller coaster that whizzed throughout the shopping centre. It was the most popular place to hangout back then thanks to its arcade, book store, bumper car rides, air hockey venue and the occasional fireworks display.

Due the Cheras Leisure Mall’s success. More shopping centres sprang up, including Viva Home, Carrefour Cheras, Hero Supermarket, AEON Taman Maluri, Connaught Market Centre, AEON Jusco Cheras Selatan and Cheras Sentral Shopping Mall.

Then in 2016, it was announced that two shopping centres will rise in the township, namely Sunway Velocity Mall and MyTOWN Shopping Centre, followed by EkoCheras Mall.

D. IKEA Cheras Enters the Scene

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Cheras became the talk of Kuala Lumpur when European furniture giant IKEA opened a 42,000 sqm outlet on November 19, 2015. It was larger than the Mutiara Damansara’s outlet by about 20 percent. The Cheras outlet is located along Jalan Cochrane close to the Cochrane MRT Station, which subsequently started operating on July 17, 2017.

E. MRT Sungai Buloh–Kajang (SBK) Line Completed

Phase 1 of the SBK Line was opened in December 16, 2016, followed by its second phase on July 17, 2017. As a result, Cheras is now home to 11 MRT Stations – Cochrane, Maluri, Taman Pertama, Taman Midah, Taman Mutiara, Taman Connaught, Taman Suntex, Sri Raya, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Sebelas Cheras and finally Bukit Dukung.

The numerous number of MRT stations further boosted the township’s appeal to property buyers. It also shows just how large Cheras is, stretching all the way from the Royal Selangor Golf Club until the border with Kajang in the south.

Status of Cheras Property Market

The multitude of people in Cheras logically led to stronger demand for homes. The first few residential estates in the township mostly comprised terrace houses constructed back in the 1960s and 70s. These were followed by low-and medium-cost non-landed dwellings.

After the division of Cheras, properties on the Kuala Lumpur side had a head start in growth because it has several roads going into the capital. Nonetheless, development on the Selangor side is catching up. In fact, the southern areas up to Balakong close to the Kajang border has witnessed rapid progress and the area has been unofficially called Cheras Selatan or Cheras South.

Then in the early 2000s to 2010s, property developers began to embark on luxury non-landed projects. Property developments in Cheras by major home builders include the 12-acre EkoCheras by Ekovest and Sunway’s 23-acre Sunway Velocity.

In the southern part, recent projects have further bolstered the area’s property market. Among them are the Mahkota Residence (5+ acre) by Cheras Hong Soon Development, Mitraland Group’s 18-acre Livia Residence and PJ Development Holdings’ 20.6-acre You City.

Why Cheras is so Appealing?

According to property experts, Cheras continues to be an attractive place to live in due to its short distance to the city centre. Besides its 11 MRT stations, it has direct linkage to major roads like the East-West Link Expressway, Middle Ring Road 2, Kajang SILK Highway, Cheras-Kajang Expressway, and the upcoming East Klang Valley Expressway.

It also has so many amenities, such as the aforementioned malls, schools like UCSI College and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), plus healthcare facilities such as Columbia Asia Hospital.

Another reason why the township is popular with home buyers is that houses in Cheras South are less pricey than those in other areas of Greater Kuala Lumpur. Based on an August 2019 report by The Edge, the median home prices in the township is only RM348,000 (RM334 per square feet). In comparison, KL’s reached RM550,000 as of Q3 2018.

Cheras to Prosper Further Due to TRX

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Cheras is located very close to the highly anticipated Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), which is just one stop from the Cochrane MRT Station.

The township’s proximity to the massive development is expected to be a game-changer for Cheras’ property market. This is because the 70-acre project is envisioned as the capital’s new financial centre.

Valued at around RM40 billion, TRX will comprise a total of 26 buildings with an overall gross floor area (GFA) of more than 21 million sq ft. Consisting of offices, homes, hotels, shops, eateries and cultural offerings, Phase I of the development was expected to be completed by 2017 or 2018, with the entire project slated to be ready in 15 years.

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(Written by G. Zizan, 6th February 2020)


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Not much of history in this article except for the first 2 para....was hoping to read more...:)

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Good to know a bit of it's history and it's potential. However, Cheras is vast stretching from the edge of Jalan Pudu right to Ulu Langat along the long Jalan Cheras. Those nearer to KL fringe and nearer MRT stations are probably more south after.  

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Cheras Leisure Mall still standing strong. Still a popular mall until today. Good to know about the origin of Cheras township.