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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Properties from a feng shui perspective: Jalan Sultan Ismail

By The Star (by David Goh)

Jalan Sultan Ismail, between the Klang River and Jalan Imbi, is well known and recognised for its row of five-star hotels. By day, it is a busy thoroughfare with several prominent office towers. By night, it is a popular entertainment area.

The road curves slightly and is generally perpendicular to the Klang/Ampang River. This river curves in an embracing fashion and joins the Gombak River at Masjid Jamek to create the main Klang/Gombak River. That means, buildings along Jalan Sultan Ismail that face west or southwest are generally conducive for business and homes.

However, we must also consider the undulating landform in the vicinity. Properties should ideally sit with its back to high land and face lower land. Here, we’re not talking about building on hill slopes.

Any slope exceeding 45 degrees is considered too steep to build and the energy moves too quickly to be beneficial. It can even be harmful.

Yet, developers and the rich continue to insist on erecting buildings in such precarious places, believing that such a unique location and design are prestigious and valuable. They may solve the problem of soil stability with expensive and sophisticated foundations, but this does not mitigate the energy flow.

Concorde Hotel's location has some good points feng shui-wise


As we survey Jalan Sultan Ismail, we will find that it passes through Bukit Nanas on its west and the land gradually becomes lower towards the KLCC. Therein lays the dilemma. Buildings on the opposite side of the road may face or be parallel to the river but they face uphill. Businesses then may experience ups and downs.

At the junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang, we find the uncompleted Hyatt Hotel, which remained so for a number of years. It actually could enjoy fantastically good feng shui if its entrance is redesigned to face the river or the mini-confluence just behind Menara Safuan. This way, Bukit Nanas would be at its back, and it would face lowland and a concaving or embracing river.

Most architects will not do that. They prefer the frontage to face the intersection where it is more prominent. Since the project has been suspended, we will not know. At this same intersection, we also find the Renaissance hotel. The Renaissance parallels the downstream river which is a good sign. It also skirts the highland-lowland issue by not facing Bukit Nanas directly. This is conducive for business.

However, we must also mention our concern with regards to the monorail system that runs along Jalan Sultan Ismail: in fact, it is difficult to discuss Jalan Sultan Ismail without interlinking it with the monorail system.

The Renaissance parallels the downstream river which is a good sign


In a previous article, we discussed the possible ramifications of a train system on the fortunes of buildings nearby. Trains moving quickly and periodically create a vacuum and drag in their wake. As energy is dispersed by winds, this artificially created wind has the tendency to suck away and disperse the gentle pool of homogenous energy that collects in the embracing concave arm of a river.

Therefore, buildings that are near a train system may find their good fortune somewhat dampened or subject to fluctuation. Those that are not doing too well may find conditions deteriorating further. Naysayers could pooh-pooh this comment. They may cite economic cycles, market forces, mismanagement and what-have-you as the real reasons for these phenomena. Aren’t these the same reasons they would use for why the wealth of some families would last only a single generation, or why businesses keep changing hands?

We must state clearly here: we are not bashing the monorail. We have nothing against it and believe it serves an important purpose for the general public. We are merely observing the environment and offering an analysis from a feng shui perspective as described by sages.


Mind you, this is not a feng shui audit either: it is a feng shui tour. No doubt, some of these buildings could have been audited by a feng shui practitioner and remedies were implemented to mitigate any negatives or accentuate the positives. It is difficult to implement “cures” or mitigation for a completed building.

Ideally, geomancy should be included in the planning stage so that everything is optimised by good energy. Once a building is completed, mitigation work is limited: sometimes, it only helps in minimising the bad but does not optimise the good.

The Concorde Hotel and the Hard Rock CafĂ© used to be the Merlin Hotel, one of Kuala Lumpur’s earliest hotels. This location has some good points feng shui-wise. It sits at the concave side of Jalan Sultan Ismail. On the other hand, it faces high land and is smack in front of the monorail, factors which could be a concern.

Menara IMC and Menara Prudential are modern office buildings that face the Klang/Gombak River and are parallel to the downstream Ampang River. That is a plus point. This could help mitigate the fact that they are just off the convex side of the road, face high ground and the monorail.


Menara Haw Par on the opposite side has its back to Bukit Nanas, which is a more conducive location. However, it sits just off the convex side of the road, and again, there is the monorail. Next door, the Shangri-La Hotel and UBN Tower have their backs to high ground and face lower ground, which is good, but the buildings do not face the river.

A view of Jalan Sultan Ismail from Wisma Genting
There are a few entertainment outlets here facing Jalan P. Ramlee. Those with their back to the river are not in the most ideal of locations. Their opposite number should do better, if they can mitigate the effects of the monorail. Wisma Tong Ah, located at the junction of Jalan P. Ramlee and Jalan Perak, could do better if its entrance faces Jalan P. Ramlee – and the river.

Its neighbouring buildings, on the other hand, could require more consideration and mitigation. These buildings all sit with the front facing high land and the back on low land (Jalan Perak). They face the convex side of Jalan Sultan Ismail and the monorail to boot. I wonder how businesses fare in such a situation, and whether feng shui mitigation, if taken, has helped.

On the opposite end, there is the impressive Si Khiong Star Mercedes Benz showroom. The story goes that the original construction did not quite meet with feng shui standards. The owners tore down the structure and rebuilt it! Today, the prestigious showroom has two entrances, from Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan P. Ramlee.

This way, the back is now on higher ground and the front is lower (Jalan Sultan Ismail). Nonetheless, the second entrance on Jalan P. Ramlee faces the Klang/Ampang River and minimises the monorail’s effect by not facing the tracks.

Jalan Sultan Ismail snakes a bit after this and buildings on the convex side are usually not very conducive compared to the concave side. As mentioned in a previous article, Bangunan MAS has a lot of good feng shui going for it. The rear is higher than the land in front and it sits at the concave side of the road. However, we are concerned about the monorail’s effect, plus the fact that its back is to the Klang/Gombak River and it faces upstream to Klang/Ampang River.


The Lodge restaurant is actually situated in a very good location. Its back is towards higher ground and it overlooks lower ground. It also faces the embrace of the road where Jalan Raja Chulan joins Jalan Sultan Ismail. As with all other sites we’ve visited, there are plus and minus points in each. For example, in this case, the river is at its back and the monorail’s proximity may negate some of the positives.

The nearby Wisma Genting was covered in a previous article, so we will dispense with it. But isn’t it too close to the monorail as well, you ask? Look closer and you will see a monorail station right in front. What do trains do when they approach a station? They slow down, of course, and this reduces the vacuum and drag impact of the trains. That means buildings very close to stations are spared the powerful effects of the trains.

We can see a similar mitigating effect with Sungei Wang Plaza down the road. Although it is beside the monorail line, there is a station right at the entrance. The location of this station is a boon for commuters and shoppers alike. Thus, it serves a dual purpose: it brings more traffic to the area and reduces the impact of fast-moving trains in its vicinity.

There are several office towers along Jalan Sultan Ismail, between Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Bukit Bintang. As you can tell, on one side where Hotel Istana sits, the landform slopes downhill. Alas, most buildings face the other direction.

This can be considered a multiple whammy: buildings facing east have a low rear; their backs are to the Klang/Gombak River; they face upstream of the Klang/Ampang River; they are on a slight convex of the road; and of course, the monorail. Buildings on the opposite are conversely more conducive, except for the monorail.

As to how true this is, I leave to your own observation and conclusion. This is not the power of auto-suggestion: it’s an observation and one can see if reality matches the hypothesis.

You can see for yourself. Have you noticed that along any given road, one side usually prospers while the opposite does not? Do you see this in your part of the neighbourhood?

*This series on feng shui and real estate properties appear courtesy of the Malaysia Institute of Geomancy Sciences (MINGS). David Koh is the founder of MINGS and has been a feng shui master and teacher for the past 35 years.


Alfredrichh Kok said...

Hilton used to do very well before the Monorail came in and now it appeared almost like a White Elephant

Alfredrichh Kok said...

Hilton used to do very well before the Monorail came in and now it appeared almost like a White Elephant