URBANIZATION AND THE CHANGING HABITAT: THE CASE OF THEMALAY HOUSING COMPOUND IN MALAYSIA (Pembandaran dan Perubahan Habitat: Kes Halaman Rumah Orang Melayu di Malaysia

Katiman Rostam, Roslia Ahmad, Mohd Yusof Hussain

Abstract


The process of urbanization has changed the land utilization and the function of many rural lands in
the fringe areas. The rural agricultural areas have rapidly disappeared to make way for residential,
industrial and commercial uses. Habitats of the originally rural population are under constant pressure
from the growing urbanization and its process can be observed easily through the house’s compound.
In rural Malaysia, the compound of each house is an integral part of a home garden. This study
discusses the impact of metropolitan growth on the habitat of people in its surrounding areas. The
Malay housing compounds in Mukim Dengkil, Selangor have been used to illustrate the change.
Compounds of a total of 149 houses from 10 Malay villages in the mukim were chosen
systematically. The result shows that in the more urbanized villages, ornamental plants mainly flowers
and other species of shrubs occupied most of the housing compounds and other parts of the home
garden for decorative and landscaping purposes. Fruit and shade trees as well as vegetables and
aromatic plants were still widely planted in the gardens. There were clear indications to suggest that
the habitat of Malay housing compounds and home gardens have undergone rapid transformation. The
finding also exhibits that the processes of urbanization and industrialization in the region have
inevitably changed the farming habits of the households. Modern plant species were preferred by the
households for their housing compound. The modernizing habitat of the Malays indicates that the
ecosystem and the way of life of the people in the region were actively changing. This undoubtedly
will have some implications on the land use and socio-cultural systems of the region in the future that
requires appropriate policies to address the issue.


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