A&W Restaurant In PJ To Be Demolished, M’sians Bid Their Final Goodbyes

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It is safe to say that Petaling Jaya (PJ) folks were in a sombre mood after the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) confirmed that the iconic A&W restaurant located along Lorong Sultan will be demolished.

The Star reported that the KUB Group, which owns the A&W franchise in Malaysia and Thailand, has received the green light from the authorities to redevelop the site as they hope to turn the 0.4 hectare land into an office tower.

While the KUB Group initially proposed to build a 36-storey building, the English daily highlighted that MBPJ reduced to structure to 20 storeys, and will include a four-storey parking bay.

“I am deeply saddened that this iconic building is going to be torn down and I really wish they didn’t have to do it,” Bukit Gasing assemblyman, R. Rajiv spoke of the restaurant that has been part of the PJ landscape since 1965.

“However, we also have to respect that this is a private land and the owner is allowed to develop the land in accordance with the guidelines and law.”

But the Bukit Gasing assemblyman is not the only individual who expressed his grief over the distressing news, as Malaysian Digest popped by the country’s first drive-in restaurant on Saturday night (Feb 3) and spoke to a few teary-eyed patrons.

“This restaurant was one of the first eateries that I took my wife to when we were courting,” 64-year Meor shared.

“Later when we had kids, we often brought our kids here for celebrations, birthday parties or just to fulfil our root beer and curly fries craving.

“But this ‘tradition’ didn’t stop there as my kids continued them with their own kids – even when they’re residing outside of PJ.”

Evidently Meor and his family are not the only ones who harbour strong emotions toward the A&W restaurant in PJ, as 36-year-old Kathy Hiew acknowledged the restaurant as her “playground while I was growing up.”

Sharing that the restaurant was her family’s go-to place, she emphasised that every Malaysian who had the privilege to eat at the restaurant will agree that the place is an iconic family restaurant.

“If you’ve come here, you’ll realise that it’s always flooded with families,” she pointed out, and opined that the atmosphere here is different from other A&W outlets or any other fast food joints.

“I grew up with the restaurant, and so did my young children. So tonight, we’re here to relive some of our fond memories – especially the ones from mine and my husband’s childhood.”

But for Ameerah Rahman, she questioned as to why the building is cleared to be abolished when they are aware that the building and the restaurant itself is a part of PJ’s story.

“They should keep this building instead of tearing it down because it’s part of history – similar to the Ampark Park building,” the 28-year-old stated.

“It’s honestly saddening to know that the building will cease to exist and now all that we can hold on to know are just the memories and the photos we took.”

However it is not only the patrons who are enveloped in disbelief as an A&W employee, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, relayed the he is unsure of what the future holds for the employees stationed at the A&W outlet.

“When the news first came to the management’s attention in 2014, the employees were worried and devastated – hence leading to some submitting their resignation,” he shared.

“When the project was delayed, we took it as a sign of hope but I guess we were wrong and now all we can do is just hope that we (the employees) will be relocated to different A&W outlets.”

Another employee smiled as she reminisced all the celebrations and birthday parties that the restaurant had hosted, and said that she will hold on to the memories as she moved on to the next chapter in her life.

“There’s something magical about this place, and to have been given the opportunity to witness and help organise more than 50 birthday parties and celebrations is something that I shall cherish forever.

“I’m disappointed that the authorities fail to see how important this building is to Malaysians, but even more disappointing that they are erasing history bit by bit,” she conveyed.

Malaysian Digest is similarly saddened by the news and we hope that this will be the last iconic building that is being sacrificed for the sake of development.

- Malaysian Digest