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Kuala Lumpur (kwäˈlə lo͝omˈpo͝or), city (1990 est. pop. 1,750,000), capital of Malaysia, S Malay Peninsula, at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, within the Federal Territory. Malaysia's chief inland city, Kuala Lumpur is the country's commercial and transportation hub. An industrial center in a tin-mining and rubber-growing district, it experienced huge growth in the 1980s and 90s. The city is the home of the Univ. of Malaya, as well as many hospitals, museums, a symphony orchestra, and the national zoo. Among the notable sights are the Petronas Towers (1997) and Exchange 106 (2019), which are among the world's tallest buildings; and the modern parliament building in Moorish style. The population is about two-thirds Chinese.
The city was founded in 1857 by Chinese tin miners and superseded Klang. In 1880 the British government transferred their headquarters from Klang to Kuala Lumpur, and in 1896 it became the capital of the Federated Malay States (see Malaysia). Under the leadership of Sir Frank Swettenham, streets were enlarged, modern building materials were used to build offices and new structures, and construction began on the Klang–Kuala Lumpur Railway. In 1957, British rule ended, and Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the independent Federation of Malaya. The city became the capital of Malaysia in 1963 and it and the surrounding area were designated a federal territory in 1974. The new administrative capital, Putrajaya, is south of Kuala Lumpur. In 1999 several government offices, including that of the prime minister, moved there, and in 2001 Putrajaya became a federal territory. The new city is part of a projected Malaysia Multimedia Supercorridor, a high-tech business zone intended to stretch from the Petronas Towers to the international airport.
capital and principal economic and political center of Malaysia. Administrative center of the state of Selangor. Located in the southwestern section of the Malay Peninsula in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains, at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. The climate is tropical, monsoonal, and damp (the relative humidity rises as high as 96 percent), with a large amount of precipitation (the annual average is 2,443 mm) and high temperatures throughout the year (the average annual temperature is 28.2°C). The average monthly variations in temperature are insignificant, although during a 24-hour period the temperature undergoes considerable variations. Population, approximately 1 million (1972; 110,000 in 1931; 316,200 in 1957; 875,800 in 1970, according to census figures).
The municipal administration consists of a government-appointed mayor and a municipal council (also government-appointed) that functions as a consultative body. The municipal council considers questions pertaining to the local budget, housing and community affairs, public services, and municipal transportation.
Kuala Lumpur was built during the 1880’s on the site of several mining settlements. In 1880 it became the capital of the Principality of Selangor. From 1896 it was the administrative center of the Federated Malay Principalities created by the British colonialists. In 1946, Kuala Lumpur became the center of the British colony then known as the Malayan Union and since 1948 known as the Federation of Malaya. On Aug. 31, 1957, Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the independent Federation of Malaya, and since Sept. 16, 1963, it has been the capital of the Federation of Malaysia. It is also one of the major centers of the workers’ movement in the country.
Kuala Lumpur is an important transportation junction; it has an international airport and is connected by rail and highway with the city of Port Swettenham on the coast of the Strait of Malacca. The city’s economic importance was initially due to its trade and administrative functions. With the rise of rubber- and tin-ore-processing enterprises, the city gained importance as an industrial center. Since the 1960’s the capital and its suburbs (for the most part, Petaling Jaya) have seen the development of food processing (products of coconut and oil palms, rice hulling), sawmilling, metalworking (including large railroad workshops), and a cement industry. Kuala Lumpur has maintained its role as a trade, distribution, and financial center (with national and foreign banks, commercial agencies, insurance companies).
The center of Kuala Lumpur is characterized by large squares with abundant greenery, broad streets, and parks. There are Chinese, Indian, Malay, and European sections with their own distinct styles of architecture. The buildings of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries are predominantly eclectic in style. Among the major buildings are a Chinese temple (the Ch’anchia Ssu), a three-domed mosque, the neo-Gothic St. John’s Cathedral, and a railroad station done in the Moorish style. Contemporary structures include the National Museum of Malaysia (1953), the National Mosque (1965, architect Baharuddin Bin Abu Kasim; both buildings utilize elements of Malay architecture); the University of Malaysia (1968, architects J. Cubitt and others), the 18-story Parliament Building, the Freedom Stadium, and the National Stadium. Since 1953 a number of satellite cities have been constructed (Petaling Jaya and others).
Located in Kuala Lumpur are the National University, the University of Malaysia and the country’s foremost scientific institutions, including the Rubber Research Institute, the Institute for Medical Research, the national and public libraries, and the National Museum of Malaysia.