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From Runways To Recreation: Sungai Besi’s Journey From Air Base To Urban Playground

From Runways To Recreation: Sungai Besi’s Journey From Air Base To Urban Playground

The historic former RMAF base is set to transform into a sports and entertainment hub with an RM80 million investment.

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In a significant move to enhance Kuala Lumpur’s offerings for its residents and visitors, the city is poised to witness the emergence of a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment hub, courtesy of an RM80 million investment by the private sector.

This bold initiative is taking place at the historic Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besi.

It is supported by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and aims to transform the city’s leisure and lifestyle scene.

The hub, also named Combat Baze, has been touted to be a haven for adrenaline seekers and digital enthusiasts alike.

It will feature a premier indoor shooting range, the Combat Shooting Club, alongside Combat Adventure Fields.

Beyond adrenaline-pumping activities like paintball battles and ATV tracks, the hub will also house a Web3 Hub.

This innovative space is designed to foster collaboration among NFT enthusiasts, artists, tech aficionados, and entrepreneurs, further positioning Kuala Lumpur as a forward-thinking metropolis.

Reviving Heritage, Igniting Adventure

The groundbreaking ceremony and soft launch, held recently, was graced by the presence of Armed Forces Chief General Tan Sri Mohammad Ab Rahman, which underlined the project’s significance.

Mohammad, who has served as the Chief of Defence Forces since September 2023, praised the project for its blend of adventure and heritage.

Adding to the project’s significance, former Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Afendi Buang has been named the chairman of Combat Baze.

He remarked that Combat Baze would offer activities that refresh the physical and mental aspects through games such as wargames and archery.

It’s also a spot for camping and leisurely activities, catering to various interests and relaxation needs.

He pointed out that much of the previous infrastructure was still around when the air base closed down, meaning Combat Baze gave it a new lease of life.

From Air Base to Urban Oasis: The Evolution of Sungai Besi into Bandar Malaysia

The Sungai Besi Airport started as an airstrip in the 1930s before it was converted into Malaysia’s first international airport in the 1950s.

From 1952 to 1965, it served as the primary airport for Kuala Lumpur, connecting the city to various destinations.

It was later turned into a base for the RMAF after Subang Airport replaced it as the nation’s international airport.

RMAF ceased its operations there on 16 March 2018 and has been relocated to Sendayan in Negeri Sembilan.

The base’s closure was part of a larger plan to relocate RMAF operations to a new airbase in Labuan.

More importantly, the Sungai Besi site is being redeveloped into a mixed-use development project known as Bandar Malaysia.

The project was officially announced in May 2011 by then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a public-private partnership with an estimated gross development value of RM150 billion.

It was shelved in 2017 and was revived in 2019 with some changes, but continued to face setbacks and delays,

Under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the present government has been involved in several key decisions regarding Bandar Malaysia.

It included the government’s takeover of the project from a private consortium and Malay reserves land allocation to build affordable housing.

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