Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur is the oldest of the three federal territories in Malaysia.

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The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur is an enclave within the Selangor state. It was ceded to the federal government in 1974 to solve a potential problem that would occur between the Selangor state government and the federal government should they be controled by opposing parties. This would be forever averted with the establishment of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur under direct federal rule.

The Federal Territory encompasses the actual city of Kuala Lumpur, the nation's capital, and its outlying areas known locally as the Klang Valley. An urban centre, the Federal Territory's principal tourist attraction is the nation's capital itself, Kuala Lumpur. The city itself has a long history, dating back to the 18th century when it began as a mining town.

Most tourist attractions are located within the city, such as the historical landmarks that trace Malaysia's development, and the various shopping malls that offer a wide variety of international brands. There are also various handicraft centres, including the historic Central Market where tourists can purchase authentic traditional handicraft and souvenirs.

As the nation's capital, Kuala Lumpur also hosts various international events and exhibitions at modern venues like the Petronas Twin Towers and the Putra World Trade Centre. Although most of the attractions are located within the city limits, there are an amazing selection of great food outlets at the outlying areas of the Klang Valley. Most of these outlets, however, are known mostly to locals and are often hidden in residential areas.

The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur is relatively young compared to its existence as a city. Its establishment as a Federal Territory on 1 February 1974 underlined Kuala Lumpur’s importance in the administration of Malaysia. However, Kuala Lumpur has always been vital to Malaysia ever since its inception as a town at the confluence of two rivers in 1857. In fact, the name ‘Kuala Lumpur’ actually means ‘muddy confluence’ in the Malay language.

Kuala Lumpur’s initial success as a tin mining town was widely attributed to one man – Yap Ah Loy. In the early days of tin mining, vast numbers of Chinese laborers were brought in to work in the Klang Valley. This naturally attracted merchants from afar to come and provide basic provisions to the miners and to trade for tin at the meeting of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Thus Kuala Lumpur was born.

The administration of the town was placed by the British in the hands of a Chinese headman known as Kapitan. The most illustrious of these Kapitans was the 3rd Kapitan, Yap Ah Loy. He was credited with the reconstruction of the town after a flood destroyed most of the town’s buildings in 1881, just a year after the town became the capital of Selangor.

Kuala Lumpur continued to prosper and grow in importance. Its status as an administration centre is unparalleled by any other towns in Malaysia, successively serving as the capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896, the short-lived Malayan Union in 1946, the Federation of Malaya in 1957, and finally, the capital of Malaysia in 1963.