Kampung Malabar got its name from the Malabari village that existed from the 19th century to the turn of the 20th century. It was in fact an extension of the Indian settlements that had taken root all along Chulia Street (itself originally known as Malabar Street in the late 18th century) and spilled into Penang Road by the early 19th century. The influence of the Indians extended as far south as Chowrasta Market, which was a market started by Indians (the name itself comes from Urdu).
Today, Kampung Malabar is almost homogenously Chinese. All that remains of the Indian settlement at Kampung Malabar has all been erased, though remnants of their presence can still be seen here and there in the vicinity, such as at the Benggali Mosque and the Sri Kunj Bihari, established by Bengalis and North Indians respectively.
The morphology of Kampung Malabar into a predominantly Chinese neighbourhood happened from the third quarter of the 19th century, when an influx of immigrants, primarily Cantonese, into the area created a Cantonese Chinatown bounded by Chulia Street, Penang Road, Prangin Road and Carnarvon Street. These was also a sprinkling of Japanese immigrants setting up businesses at Kampung Malabar and adjacent Cintra Street from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
Junction of Kampung Malabar with Penang Road (30 August, 2012)
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