Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is one of three Federal Territories in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur was ceded to the Federal Government by the Selangor State on 1 February 1974. Labuan, located off the coast of Sabah was declared a Federal Territory on 16 April 1984, and on 1 February 2001, Putrajaya, the new administrative hub of the Federal Government was officially declared a Federal Territory.

Kuala Lumpur, literally means ‘muddy estuary’ in Malaysia. It is situated at the confluence of the Klang and the Gombak Rivers. This great city one sees now started out as a tin-mining camp by a group of 87 Chinese settlers, in 1857.

At that time, tin was greatly demanded by the Americans and the British Empire, which needed the durable, lightweight metal to help fuel their industrial revolutions. The prospectors headed for Ampang, located a few kilometers to the east of Kuala Lumpur, as huge reserves of tin ores are found there.

Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor, chose Kuala Lumpur as his administrative centre and oversaw the rebirth of the city, ordering the construction of new buildings using brick. In 1896, Swettenham convinced the Sultans of four states to unite under the umbrella of the Federal Malay States (FMS), and Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital.

In 1972, Kuala Lumpur achieved city status. At the same time, it also remained as Selangor’s state capital, a status it attained in 1887. On February 1, 1974 Kuala Lumpur was officially declared as Federal Territory. It also marked the end of Selangor’s jurisdiction over Kuala Lumpur.

The last 20 years have seen Kuala Lumpur undergo phenomenal growth, not to mention development on a monumental scale. The world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers, now rise above the city with a two million population.

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