Malacca Street


Malacca Street, a one-way road in Raffles Place, connects D'Almeida Street to Market Street. It is one of the older streets of Singapore, existing before 1836.

Malacca Street was named after the Malaccan city in Malaysia, though the reason for naming it such is not known. It is one of the earlier streets in Singapore and was featured in the 1836 Map of Singapore by Coleman. Lined with single and double-storeyed shophouses in the mid and late 19th century, the street was part of the commercial centre of colonial Singapore and home to many merchants and brokers. The tall commercial buildings that occupy Malacca Street now seem to hark back to its commercial past.

Connected to the Raffles Place MRT by an underpass, the street starts with two huge buildings on each side, the OUB Centre and the Bharat Building. The OUB Centre, built in 1986 by Kenzo Tange, is one of the tallest buildings in Singapore alongside Republic Plaza and UOB Plaza. Measuring 280 m high, the building is made up of a 64-storey tower fixed atop a 6-storey podium, the latter housing a shopping centre and a bank. A 6-storey wing opposite the podium gives a balanced appearance to the structure. Though square in structure, the building seems to cut into two triangular structure with one structure measuring 13 storeys higher than the other. Bharat building houses the Indian Bank and UCO Bank.

Next to OUB Centre are the Royal Brothers Building and the Malacca Centre. The Royal Brothers Building was originally the DBS Securities Building and was sold on a 999-year lease to the Royal Brothers in 2001. The Malacca Centre is a 16-storey commercial unit. Opposite the Malacca Centre is the Republic Plaza, a 66-storey commercial property, constructed in 1995 by Kisho Kurokawa. Republic Plaza, though measuring 280 m as well, is somehow considered taller than OUB Centre.

Variant Names
Chinese names:
(1) In Hokkien, Lau pa-sat khau and in Cantonese, Khau pa-sat, both meaning "mouth or entrance to the old market". The old market refers to the Telok Ayer Market, formerly called Pasar bisi or "iron market" in Malay as it was made of wrought iron. The market was located at the Southern end of Market Street. This market was demolished and a new one was built in 1890s which is now known as Lau pa sat and is located in the vicinity of Malacca Street.
(2) Ban Hin Koi, meaning "Ban Hin Street", a reference to a trading firm Ban Hin on that street.

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

Byrne Bracken, G. (2002). Singapore: A walking tour (p. 32). Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 BYR)

Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore (p. 202). Singapore: Who's Who Publications.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)

Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1996). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (pp. 429, 449, 451). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)

Haughton H. T. (1973). Native names of streets in Singapore. In M. Sheppard (Ed.), Singapore 150 years (p. 214). Singapore: Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 JMBRAS)

Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2003). Toponymics: A study of Singapore street names (pp. 255-256, 258). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV)

Firmstone, H. W. (1905, January). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 4, 106, 107.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 FIR-[IC])

Batacan, F. (2001, May 28). DBS Finance Building to be sold. The Straits Times, p. 12.

Goh, G. (1998, June 3). Take me to The Great Horse Way. The Straits Times, Life, p. 3.

Williams, A.(1994, July 29). Malacca Centre in Raffles Place up for sale at $45m. The Straits Times, p. 48.

Construction work on Republic Plaza begins. (1993, January 2). The Straits Times, Commercial Development, p. 36. 

Further Readings

Light-up for MRT at 2 buildings. (1987, December 12). The Straits Times, MRT Operation.

Malacca Centre sold. (1994, August 22). The Straits Times, p. 39.

Tripathi, S. (1991, December 11). Third contender for tallest building in Singapore. The Business Times, p. 4.

Williams, A. (1995, August 28). Record office deals struck at Republic Plaza, Suntec City. The Straits Times, p. 55.

National Heritage Board. (2003). SHM Redevelopment Project. Retrieved June 2, 2003, from

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2010.