dubbed this building ‘Mayan lost city’, a play
on the mall’s real name of, 'Kemayan City'. I had
been lucky to see Kemayan way back in early 2004 when much
of the buildings fit out and equipment was still left in
place. The basement level had about 4ft of water in it but
the overall building was still relatively intact.
Construction of the 65,000
square meter mall began in the early 1990's. The project
was to be Johor's largest integrated shopping mall, offering
up office space and a 560 room hotel at the eastern end
of the building. In 1997, during the mall's final phases
of completion, the Asian economic crisis hit stopping construction
dead in its tracks.
Contractors and suppliers
were said to have been at desperation point, going so far
as to gaining unauthorised access to the shutdown site to
retrieve un paid for equipment and materials they had fitted
and installed prior. You can imagine the dire financial
circumstances for all those involved with the project, including
of course the individuals who purchased actual shop lots.
This of course was only the tip of the iceberg with many
other projects in the country going the same way during
Kemayan then sat derelict,
but it did have its own 24/7 security team, their job was
to guard what was left for any eventual resale or resurrection
of the project. Unfortunately the site proved too big to
protect and over time much was lost to theft and vandalism,
By 2007, security had become
so reduced that it was incredibly easy for anyone to access
the site, including me. The whole building by then had decayed
into a terrible mess. So much had now been stolen it had
literally been turned inside out and back to bare concrete.
Much of the malls structure had become a death trap, with
random holes in the floor dropping storeys down to oblivion.
The stagnant air within Kemayan's dark confines was so rotten
that I developed a sore throat that lingered for days after.
But all that being said, what an amazing location Kemayan
had turned into to explore. It had taken on a real life
post apocalyptic look and feel straight out of a Hollywood
movie. Funnily enough, a stunt scene for a 2013 straight
to video Dolph Lundgren movie was actually shot here in
the main atrium.
Today, things have completely
been transformed; Kemayan has since been reworked and has
evolved into a brand new 'mega mall', now known as the "Paradigm".
But, Kemayan's old legacy hasn't been completely erased,
its original 1990's multistorey carpark has for the most
part has been retained! So the infamous Mayan still lingers
on here like a bad memory that just won't go away.