I was passing by the Karamunsing Shopping Complex (that a lot of people think will collapse one day of structural failure - if it does I blame overloading, imo) and lo behold, Chan Furniture Store that has been utilizing the old cinema has moved out!
Not many young Sabahans realize that this building used to be one of several independent cinemas that were quite popular back in the golden age of celluloid film. Way before the era of those rather icky laser disc parlours and GSC multiplexes, these little indie cinemas were the highlight of the youths living in the time of the BERJAYA administration in Sabah.
I've been inside this old cinema when Chan Furniture was still in business here. The interiors are quite interesting; however I presently do not have any photos showing what it looks like inside. According to sources, the reason the tenants moved out is because the owners allegedly claimed structural failure to be a concern. Riight. From what I can see, there is nothing wrong with this building except for the fact that it is ripe for an architectural rehabilitation to restore it to its former glory.
Sabah's film industry is on the rise - what with more and more Sabah-born film makers making their presence and voice audible in the Malaysian - and international scene. This old cinema - known to some as the BERJAYA Theatre - could be a catalyst for the growth of the state's film industry, if given some love and attention to its restoration.
There's a real potential here to turn this old cinema into a place where Sabah's creative film-makers can showcase their work and projects. The location is ideal - situated right in the centre of town and close to all the existing amenities and food outlets that would support such activities. Rather than tear it down to put up another lifeless commercial/office block, why not use available funds to revive this building?
Richard Nelson Sokial
The Sabah Architectural Heritage Blog