As we continued exploring the Muslim quarter in Singapore, Kampong Gelam, we took a while to walk through the pretty ground of the Malay Heritage Centre at 85 Sultan Gate. I have been here before, but the great thing about blogging is that now I am paying closer attention to all the little details. I guess I was just in time too as the centre is undergoing redevelopment works and will only open again in June 2012.
This is an extract of a news report from Channel News Asia about the exciting new developments for the area.
Muscat Street in the Kampong Glam area will get a S$5.3 million facelift; with upgrading work scheduled to begin in November and expected to finish by end 2012.
The Muscat Street area will be rejuvenated to increase its attractiveness and add to its distinctive ethnic character.
Visitors can look forward to Omani murals and mosaic artwork lining the new sidewalks leading to Arab Street.
The pedestrian mall and roads will also be revamped and the roads will be tiled and paved.
The project aims to highlight Singapore’s historical links with Oman and the region and provide a slice of heritage.
The attraction hopes to draw more tourists and locals, and businesses in the area are upbeat about the changes.
“When you preserve this area, it will be better. We can expect more tourists to come and I think the business will be better”, said Mr Abdul Rasheed, salesman at Royal Fabric.
According to the Heritage Centre’s website, this was actually the palace of Malay rulers. It was converted into a heritage museum, to capture the essence of Malay history and culture. A little known fact is that in the early 1950s and 1960s, the former Istana used to screen movies weekly for free. It also provided a parking space for the Muslims going to pray at Sultan Mosque nearby.