New school of thought for old town
While Parit Raja may not be as well known as the nearby town of Ayer
Hitam to those from out of state, the town has nevertheless been
experiencing tremendous growth in the last 20 years.
the main contributors to the town's rapid growth are the Parit Raja and
Sri Gading industrial areas, which have attracted a number of companies
including global information technology company Fujitsu Ltd and
electrical appliances giant Sharp.
number of Bursa Malaysia Bhd-listed companies, including garment
manufacturer PCCS Group Bhd and corrrugated carton maker HPI Resources
Bhd also have facilities in the area.
Another factor is
the opening of institutions there -- Universiti Tun Hussein Onn
Malaysia (UTHM) and Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara (KKTM).
UTHM started out as Pusat Latihan Staf Politeknik, a training centre
for polytechnics academic staff administered by the Education Ministry
and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
It was upgraded and
became known as Institut Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn, after the country's
third prime minister. In 1996 it was again renamed Kolej Universiti
Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn before it attained full university status in
2007, when it has since remained UTHM.
of UTHM has contributed to the increase in the population of Parit
Raja. According to its website, the university has an enrolment of
about 8,000 students.
The town, not to be confused with
another town of the same name in Muar, is about 25km from Batu Pahat
and 10km from Ayer Hitam.
What started out as a small
town with just two rows of wooden shophouses, surrounded by traditional
villages, is now a modern university town, with new shophouses and
residential areas now a part of the town.
residential and commercial areas continue to be developed in Parit Raja
and its surrounding areas, as the demand for housing there is
It is said that the rental rates for a
house is Parit Raja is actually higher than other places in Batu Pahat,
including the town of Batu Pahat itself.
known as an industrial and education hub, Parit Raja is also well known
among the people of Batu Pahat as the place to go to for traditional
kerepek and other snacks.
Most of the kerepek sold at
the town are made by villagers in the surrounding villages, so buyers
are assured of quality and freshness.
While the town
has undergone many changes over the years, it has managed to retain its
small town charm, probably because there are still many villages
The next time you pass through the town
of Parit Raja, do take time to stop and enjoy what the town has to
offer. You might just fall in love with its old school charm.