Padungan backlane ‘koyok’ repair starts, MBKS Mayor set sights on reviving century-old historic charm

Ongoing pavement milling and road resurfacing work at the backlane of Padungan on June 19, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 19: Pavement milling and road resurfacing work to fix the “koyok” (medicated plaster) condition of the backlane of Padungan intersecting to Jalan Abell has commenced today and is expected to be completed within a week.

Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, who inspected the work this morning, has urged Padungan shopowners and visitors not to park their vehicles along the backlane shoulders to avoid obstructing the ongoing construction works.


“Additionally, some 20 units of LED streetlights will be erected on the main Jalan Padungan to illuminate the area and security will be enhanced with the installation of CCTV (closed circuit television).

“The council will also source more funding to change the old bulbs of the existing streetlights,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.

Wee also outlined plans to enhance the area’s aesthetics, including beautifying pedestrian pavements between buildings.

Wee visiting the backlane of Padungan to inspect the road resurfacing work which begins on June 19, 2024.

Shop and business owners expressed appreciation to MBKS as they welcomed not only works to improve old infrastructure but also look forward to further revitalisation efforts in this historical area.

They also suggested the council ensure traffic direction signs are clearly marked on the roads to address frequent incidents of incorrect traffic flow.

With focus on improving infrastructure presently, Wee aims to gather all stakeholders in the near future to discuss and develop a masterplan to improve Padungan to boost its economic, tourism and social appeal that would benefit both the community and visitors.

“We observed that there are more food and beverage outlets established there and this is a sign of recovery in this historic quarter,” he added.

Unique spiral staircases are an architectural heritage feature of Padungan.

During a livestream of his visit on social media, Wee updated viewers on the ongoing construction work and sought their cooperation for its smooth completion.

He also revealed plans to bring all the people together to discuss on how to transform the area according to their needs moving forward.

After a century of existence, Wee emphasised that Padungan deserved to be elevated as a premier destination in southern Kuching City to attract visitors.

In recent times, large murals have been painted on buildings to commemorate Padungan’s traditional trades and historical activities, such as the making of Ang Ku kueh, “lumba kuda” (horse racing), and “liang teh” (herbal tea). These murals aim to showcase the area’s cultural richness and narrate the tales of Padungan.

The mural titled ‘Everlasting Shape of Joy’ by homegrown artist Leonard Siaw at Padungan. Photo credit: Leonard Siaw 萧艺 Facebook

Originally known as Kampong Padungan in the late 18th century, it was the largest Malay village in Kuching. However, in the early 19th century, with the advent of road construction and the erection of shophouses, residents migrated to a nearby village named Lumba Kuda.

Jalan Padungan is characterised by its rows of Chinese shophouses, predominantly constructed during the 1920s and 30s amid the rubber boom. Many of these buildings feature exquisite decorations, with hidden architectural marvels awaiting discovery in their back alleys.

One enduring architectural feature is the spiral staircases, a hallmark of the area’s historical charm. Wee has expressed a commitment to enhancing these structures while preserving their authenticity.

Today, Padungan boasts an array of attractions including charming coffee shops, lively pubs and restaurants, handicraft and artisanal shops, and a unique cluster of fruit and flower vendors. — DayakDaily