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Kuala Lumpur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kuala Lumpur
Federal territory and capital city
Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Other transcription(s)
 • Jawiولايه ڤرسكوتوان کوالا لومڤور
 • Chinese吉隆坡联邦直辖区
 • Tamilகோலாலம்பூர்
From top, left to right:
Skyline at night with the KL Tower, the Petronas Towers and also the Vista Tower in the far background; Bukit Bintang intersection, Petaling Street, National Museum as well as the MRT Station entrance, photo spots of Jamek Mosque which lies between the Gombak and the Klang River confluence, National Monument, Merdeka Square, and Kuala Lumpur railway station
Official seal of Kuala Lumpur
KL, The Garden City of Lights, City of Contrasts and Diversity[1]
Bersedia Menyumbang Bandaraya Cemerlang
English: Ready to Contribute towards an Excellent City
Anthem: Maju dan Sejahtera
English: Progress and Prosper
Kuala Lumpur is located in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is located in Southeast Asia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is located in Asia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Coordinates: 03°08′52″N 101°41′43″E / 3.14778°N 101.69528°E / 3.14778; 101.69528Coordinates: 03°08′52″N 101°41′43″E / 3.14778°N 101.69528°E / 3.14778; 101.69528
Administrative areas
City status1 February 1972
Transferred to federal jurisdiction1 February 1974
 • TypeFederal administration
with local government
 • BodyKuala Lumpur City Hall
 • MayorMahadi bin Che Ngah
Federal representationParliament of Malaysia
 • Dewan Rakyat seats11 of 222 (5.0%)
 • Dewan Negara seats2 of 70 (2.9%)
 • Federal territory243 km2 (94 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,243.27 km2 (866.13 sq mi)
Elevation66 m (217 ft)
 (2018 est.)[6]
 • Federal territory1,790,000
 • Rank1st
 • Density7,366/km2 (19,080/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density2,708/km2 (7,010/sq mi)
 • Demonym
KL-ite / Kuala Lumpurian
State Index
 • HDI (2018)0.860 (very high) (1st)[7]
 • GDP (2019)RM 244,210 million ($59,831 million) (2nd)[8]
 • Per capita (2019)RM 129,472 ($31,720) (1st)[8]
Time zoneUTC+8 (MST)
Postal code
50000 to 60000
Mean solar timeUTC+06:46:46
Area code(s)03
Vehicle registrationV and W (except taxis)
HW (for taxis only)
ISO 3166-2MY-14
Official language(s)Malay

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian pronunciation: [ˈkualə, -a ˈlumpo(r), -ʊ(r)]), officially the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malay: Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur) and colloquially referred to as KL, is a federal territory and the capital city of Malaysia. It is the largest city in Malaysia, covering an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1.73 million as of 2016.[9] Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.564 million people as of 2018.[5] It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia, in both population and economic development.

Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial, and economic centre of Malaysia. It is also home to the Parliament of Malaysia, the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (monarch of Malaysia) the Istana Negara. Kuala Lumpur first developed around 1857 as a town serving the tin mines of the region and served as the capital of Selangor from 1880 until 1978. Kuala Lumpur was the founding capital of the Federation of Malaya and its successor Malaysia and the city remained the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the Malaysian federal government until these were relocated to Putrajaya in early 1999.[10] However, some sections of the political bodies still remain in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the three federal territories of Malaysia,[11] enclaved within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.[12] Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Kuala Lumpur has undergone rapid development in recent decades and is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers, which have since become an iconic symbol of Malaysian development.

Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road system supported by an extensive range of public transport networks, such as mass rapid transit (MRT), light rapid transit (LRT), monorail, commuter rail, public buses, hop on & hop off buses (free of charge) and airport rail links. Kuala Lumpur is one of the leading cities in the world for tourism and shopping, being the 6th most-visited city in the world in 2019.[13] The city houses three of the world's 10 largest shopping malls.[14]

Kuala Lumpur is ranked No. 70 in the world & No. 2 in Southeast Asia for Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking[15] and No. 9 in ASPAC & No. 2 in Southeast Asia for KPMG's Leading Technology Innovation Hub 2021.[16] Kuala Lumpur was named as World Book Capital 2020 by UNESCO.[17][18]


Jamek Mosque at the confluence of Gombak (left) and Klang (right) rivers. The earliest settlement of Kuala Lumpur developed on the eastern side of the river bank (to the right in this picture).

Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence" in Malay; Kuala is the point where two rivers join together or an estuary, and lumpur means "mud".[19][20] One suggestion is that it was named after Sungai Lumpur ("muddy river"); it was recorded in the 1820s that Sungei Lumpoor was the most important tin-producing settlement up the Klang River.[21] Doubts however have been raised on such a derivation as Kuala Lumpur lies at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River, therefore should rightly be named Kuala Gombak as the point where one river joins a larger one or the sea is its kuala.[22] It has been argued by some that Sungai Lumpur in fact extended down to the confluence (therefore the point where it joined the Klang River would be Kuala Lumpur),[23] although this Sungai Lumpur is said to be another river joining the Klang River 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) upstream from the Gombak confluence, or perhaps located to the north of the Batu Caves area.[22]

It has also been proposed that Kuala Lumpur was originally named Pengkalan Lumpur ("muddy landing place") in the same way that Klang was once called Pengkalan Batu ("stone landing place"), but became corrupted into Kuala Lumpur.[23] Another suggestion is that it was initially a Cantonese word lam-pa meaning 'flooded jungle' or 'decayed jungle'. There is no firm contemporary evidence for these suggestions other than anecdotes.[24] It is also possible that the name is a corrupted form of an earlier but now unidentifiable forgotten name.[22]


Early years

Historical affiliations

 Sultanate of Selangor 1857–1974
 Federated Malay States 1895–1942; 1945–1946
Empire of Japan 1942–1945
 Malayan Union 1946–1948
 Federation of Malaya 1948–1963
 Malaysia 1963–present

It is unknown who founded or named the settlement Kuala Lumpur. Chinese miners were involved in tin mining up the Selangor River in the 1840s about 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of present-day Kuala Lumpur,[25] and Mandailing Sumatrans led by Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa were also involved in tin mining and trade in the Ulu Klang region before 1860, and Sumatrans may have settled in the upper reaches of Klang River in the first quarter of the 19th century, possibly earlier.[23][26][27][28] Kuala Lumpur was originally a small hamlet of just a few houses and shops at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang (Klang River) before it grew into a town. It is generally accepted that Kuala Lumpur become established as a town circa 1857,[29] when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar, aided by his brother Raja Juma'at of Lukut, raised funds from Malaccan Chinese businessmen to hire some Chinese miners from Lukut to open new tin mines here.[30][31] The miners landed at Kuala Lumpur and continued their journey on foot to Ampang where the first mine was opened.[32] Kuala Lumpur was the furthest point up the Klang River to which supplies could conveniently be brought by boat; it therefore became a collection and dispersal point serving the tin mines.[33][29]

Yap Ah Loy
Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, the third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur
Frank Swettenham
Frank Swettenham,
credited with Kuala Lumpur's rapid growth and development

Although the early miners suffered a high death toll due to the malarial conditions of the jungle, the Ampang mines were successful, and the first tin from these mines was exported in 1859.[33] At that time Sutan Puasa was already trading near Ampang, two traders from Lukut, Hiu Siew and Yap Ah Sze, then arrived in Kuala Lumpur where they set up shops to sell provisions to miners in exchange for tin.[34][35] The town, spurred on by tin-mining, started to develop centred on Old Market Square (Medan Pasar), with roads radiating out towards Ampang as well as Pudu and Batu (the destinations became the names of these roads) where miners also started to settled in, and Petaling and Damansara.[36] The miners formed gangs among themselves;[37] and fights between different gangs were frequent in this period, particularly between factions of Kuala Lumpur and Kanching, mainly to gain control of the best tin mines.[38] Leaders of the Chinese community were conferred the title of Kapitan Cina (Chinese headman) by the Malay chief, and Hiu Siew the early Chinese trader was chosen as the first Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur.[39] The third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy, was appointed in 1868.[28]

Important Malay figures of early Kuala lumpur also include Haji Mohamed Tahir who became the Dato Dagang ("chief of traders").[26] The Minangkabaus from Sumatra became another important group of peoples who traded and established tobacco plantations in the area.[40] Notable Minangkabaus include their headman Dato' Sati, Utsman Abdullah,[41] and Haji Mohamed Taib who was involved in the early development of Kampung Baru.[42][43] The Minangkabaus were also significant socio-religious figures, for example Utsman bin Abdullah was the first kadi of Kuala Lumpur as well as Muhammad Nur bin Ismail.[44]

Beginning of modern Kuala Lumpur

Part of a panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur c. 1884. To the left is the Padang. The buildings were constructed of wood and atap before regulations were enacted by Swettenham in 1884 requiring buildings to use bricks and tiles. The appearance of Kuala Lumpur transformed rapidly and greatly in the following years.

Early Kuala Lumpur was a small town that suffered from many social and political problems – the buildings were made of wood and atap (palm frond thatching) that were prone to fire, lack of proper sanitation plagued the town with diseases, and it suffered from a constant threat of flooding. The town became embroiled in the Selangor Civil War due in part to the fight for control of revenues from the tin mines. The Chinese Kapitan Yap Ah Loy aligned himself with Tengku Kudin, and the rival Chinese gang allied themselves with Raja Mahdi. Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa also switched sides to Raja Mahdi, and Kuala Lumpur was captured in 1872 and burnt to the ground. Yap escaped to Klang where he reassembled a fighting force. Kuala Lumpur was recaptured by Yap in March 1873 when Raja Mahdi forces were defeated with the help of fighters from Pahang.[38] The war and other setbacks, such as a drop in tin prices, led to a slump, furthermore a major outbreak of cholera caused many to flee the town. The slump lasted until late 1879, when a rise in the price of tin allowed the town to recover.[29] In late 1881, the town was severely flooded, following a fire that had destroyed the entire town in January that year. That the town was rebuilt a few times and thrived was due in large part to the tenacity and persistence of Yap Ah Loy.[45][46] Yap, together with Frank Swettenham who was appointed the Resident in 1882, were the two most important figures of early Kuala Lumpur with Swettenham credited with its rapid growth and development and its transformation into a major urban centre.[47]

The Government Offices of the Federated Malay States (Now the Sultan Abdul Samad Building) facing the Padang, c. 1900

The early Chinese and Malay settlements were along the east bank of the Klang River – the Chinese mainly settled around the commercial centre of Market Square; the Malays, later Indian Chettiars and Indian Muslims resided in the Java Street (now Jalan Tun Perak) area. In 1880, the state capital of Selangor was moved from Klang to the more strategically advantageous Kuala Lumpur by the colonial administration, and the British Resident William Bloomfield Douglas then decided that the government buildings and living quarters should be located to the west of the river. Government offices and a new police headquarters was built on Bukit Aman, and the Padang was created initially for police training.[48] The Padang, now known as Merdeka Square, would later become the centre of the British administrative offices when the colonial government offices were moved to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in 1897.[46]

Frank Swettenham, on becoming the British Resident, began improving the town by cleaning up the streets. He also stipulated in 1884 that buildings should be constructed of brick and tile so that they would be less flammable, and that the town be rebuilt with wider streets to reduce fire risk.[47][49] Kapitan Yap Ah Loy bought a sprawling piece of real estate to set up a brick industry for the rebuilding of Kuala Lumpur; this place is the eponymous Brickfields.[50] Destroyed atap buildings were replaced with brick and tiled ones, and many of the new brick buildings are characterised by the "five-foot ways" as well as Chinese carpentry work. This resulted in a distinct eclectic shop house architecture typical to this region. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy expanded road access in the city significantly, linking up tin mines with the city; these roads include the main arterial routes of the present Ampang Road, Pudu Road and Petaling Street.[51] As Chinese Kapitan, he was vested with wide powers on a par with Malay community leaders. Law reforms were implemented and new legal measures introduced to the assembly. Yap also presided over a small claims court. With a police force of six, he was able to uphold the rule of law, constructing a prison that could accommodate 60 prisoners at any time. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy also built Kuala Lumpur's first school and a major tapioca mill in Petaling Street of which the Selangor's Sultan Abdul Samad held an interest.[52]

The construction of the railway spurred the growth of the city. The first headquarters of the Federated Malay States Railways (now the National Textile Museum) near the F.M.S. Government Offices in the distance, c. 1910.

A railway line between Kuala Lumpur and Klang, initiated by Swettenham and completed in 1886, increased accessibility which resulted in the rapid growth of the town. The population grew from 4,500 in 1884 to 20,000 in 1890.[29] As development intensified in the 1880s, it also put pressure on sanitation, waste disposal and other health issues. A Sanitary Board was created on 14 May 1890 which was responsible for sanitation, upkeep of roads, lighting of streets, and other functions. This would eventually become the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council.[53] In 1896, Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States.[54]

20th century–present

An arcade of shophouses with a road sweeper at work in the street of Kuala Lumpur, c. 1915–1925.

The area that is defined as Kuala Lumpur expanded considerably in the 20th century. It was only 0.65 km2 (0.25 sq mi) in 1895, but was extended to encompass 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi) in 1903. By the time it became a municipality in 1948 it had expanded to 93 km2 (36 sq mi), and then to 243 km2 (94 sq mi) in 1974 as a Federal Territory.[55]

The development of rubber industry in Selangor fueled by the demand for car tyre in the early 20th century led to a boom of the town, with the population of Kuala Lumpur increasing from 30,000 in 1900 to 80,000 in 1920.[56] Previously the commercial activities of Kuala Lumpur were run to a large extent by Chinese businessmen such as Loke Yew who was then the richest and most influential Chinese of Kuala Lumpur. The growth of the rubber industry led to an influx of foreign capital and planters, with new companies and industries becoming established in Kuala Lumpur, and other companies previously based elsewhere also found a presence here.[56]

Japanese troops advancing up High Street (now Jalan Tun H S Lee) in Kuala Lumpur in December 1941 during World War II.

During World War II, Kuala Lumpur was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army on 11 January 1942. Despite suffering little damage during the course of the battle, the wartime occupation of the city resulted in significant loss of lives; at least 5,000 Chinese were killed in Kuala Lumpur in just a few weeks of the occupation by Japanese forces, and thousands of Indians were sent as forced labour to work on the Burma Railway where a large number died.[57] They occupied the city until 15 August 1945, when the commander in chief of the Japanese Seventh Area Army in Singapore and Malaysia, Seishirō Itagaki, surrendered to the British administration following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[58] Kuala Lumpur grew through the war, and continued after the war during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), during which Malaya was preoccupied with the communist insurgency and New Villages were established on the outskirts of the city.[47]

The first municipal election in Kuala Lumpur was held on 16 February 1952. An ad hoc alliance between the Malay UMNO and Chinese MCA party candidates won a majority of the seats contested, and their success led to the formation of the Alliance Party (later the Barisan Nasional).[59] On 31 August 1957, the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from British rule.[60] The British flag was lowered and the Malayan flag was raised for the first time at the Padang on the midnight of 30 August 1957,[61] and in the morning of 31 August, the ceremony for the Declaration of Independence was held at the Merdeka Stadium by the first Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Kuala Lumpur remained the capital after the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The Malaysian Houses of Parliament was completed at the edge of the Lake Gardens in 1963.[62]

The Majestic Theatre on Pudu Road was an early pioneer in Kuala Lumpur's cinema scene. It was converted into an amusement park in the 1990s and demolished in 2009.

Kuala Lumpur had seen a number of civil disturbances over the years. A riot in 1897 was a relatively minor affair that began with the confiscation of faulty dacing (a scale used by traders), and in 1912, a more serious disturbance called the tauchang riot began during the Chinese New Year with the cutting of pigtails and ended with rioting and factional fighting lasting a number of days.[63] The worst rioting on record in Malaysia however occurred on 13 May 1969, when race riots broke out in Kuala Lumpur.[64] The so-called 13 May Incident refers to the violent conflicts that took place between members of the Malay and the Chinese communities. The violence was the result of Malaysian Malays being dissatisfied with their socio-political status. The riots caused the deaths of 196 people according to official figures,[64] and led to major changes in the country's economic policy to promote and prioritise Malay economic development over that of the other ethnicities.

Kuala Lumpur achieved city status on 1 February 1972,[65][66] becoming the first settlement in Malaysia to be granted the status after independence. Later, on 1 February 1974, Kuala Lumpur became a federal territory.[67] Kuala Lumpur ceased to be the capital of Selangor in 1978 after the city of Shah Alam was declared the new state capital.[68] On 14 May 1990, Kuala Lumpur celebrated 100 years of local council. The new federal territory Kuala Lumpur flag and anthem were introduced. On 1 February 2001, Putrajaya was declared a Federal Territory, as well as the seat of the federal government.[69] The administrative and judicial functions of the government were shifted from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. Kuala Lumpur however still retained its legislative function,[70] and remained the home of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Constitutional King).[71]

From the 1990s onwards, major urban developments in the Klang Valley have resulted in an extended Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area.[72][73] This area, known as Greater Kuala Lumpur, extends from the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur westward to Port Klang, east to the edge of the Titiwangsa Mountains as well as to the north and south. The area covers other administratively separate towns and cities such as Klang, Shah Alam, Putrajaya and others,[74][75] and it is served by the Klang Valley Integrated Transit System. Notable projects undertaken within Kuala Lumpur itself include the development of a new Kuala Lumpur City Centre around Jalan Ampang and the Petronas Towers.[76]


A satellite view of Klang Valley or Greater Kuala Lumpur

The geography of Kuala Lumpur is characterised by the huge Klang Valley. The valley is bordered by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and the south and the Strait of Malacca in the west. Kuala Lumpur is a Malay term that translates to "muddy confluence" as it is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers.[77]

The Red Arrows over the city in 2016

Located in the centre of Selangor state, Kuala Lumpur was a territory of Selangor State Government. In 1974, Kuala Lumpur was separated from Selangor to form the first Federal Territory governed directly by the Malaysian Federal Government. Its location within the most developed state on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, which has wider flat land than the east coast, has contributed to its faster development relative to other cities in Malaysia.[78] The municipality of the city covers an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi),[3] with an average elevation of 81.95 m (268 ft 10 in).[79]

Climate and weather

Protected by the Titiwangsa Range in the east and Indonesia's Sumatra Island in the west, Kuala Lumpur is safe from strong winds and has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), which is hot, humid and sunny, along with abundant rainfall, especially during the northeast monsoon season from October to March. Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover between 32 and 35 °C (90 and 95 °F) and sometimes hit 38 °C (100.4 °F), while minimums hover between 23.4 and 24.6 °C (74.1 and 76.3 °F) and have never fallen below 17.8 °C (64.0 °F).[80][81] Kuala Lumpur typically receives minimum 2,600 mm (100 in) of rain annually; June and July are relatively dry, but even then rainfall typically exceeds 131 millimetres (5.2 in) per month.

Flood is a frequent occurrence in Kuala Lumpur after heavy downpours, especially in the city centre, because the structural irrigation lags behind the intensive development within the city.[82] Smoke from forest fires in nearby Sumatra sometimes casts a haze over the region. This is a major source of pollution in the city alongside open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction work.[83]

Climate data for Kuala Lumpur
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 38.0
Average high °C (°F) 32.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.7
Average low °C (°F) 23.4
Record low °C (°F) 17.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 193
Average rainy days 17 17 19 20 18 14 16 16 19 21 24 22 223
Average relative humidity (%) 80 80 80 82 81 80 79 79 81 82 84 83 81
Mean monthly sunshine hours 185.0 192.4 207.9 198.8 206.8 194.4 200.2 189.0 163.8 169.1 152.3 162.6 2,222.3
Source 1:[81]
Source 2: NOAA (sunshine hours, 1961–1990)[84]
Climate data for Kuala Lumpur
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily daylight hours 12.0 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.3 12.3 12.2 12.1 12.0 12.0 11.9 12.1
Average Ultraviolet index 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Source: Weather Atlas[85]


Kuala Lumpur City Hall

Kuala Lumpur was administered by a corporation sole called the Federal Capital Commissioner from 1 April 1961, until it was awarded city status in 1972, after which executive power transferred to the Lord Mayor (Datuk Bandar).[86] Thirteen mayors have been appointed since then. The current mayor is Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah, who has been in office since 1 October 2020.[87]

Local government

The local administration is carried out by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, an agency under the Federal Territories Ministry of Malaysia.[86] It is responsible for public health and sanitation, waste removal and management, town planning, environmental protection and building control, social and economic development, and general maintenance functions of urban infrastructure. Executive power lies with the mayor in the city hall, who is appointed for three years by the Federal Territories Minister. This system of appointing the mayor has been in place ever since the local government elections were suspended in 1970.[88]


Districts (divisions) of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is located in Kuala Lumpur
Kg. Baru
Datuk Keramat
Bdr. Tun Razak
Alam Damai
Sungai Besi
Taman Desa
Mont Kiara
Ibu Kota
Batu Caves
A map of Kuala Lumpur with the locations of the city centre of Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs.

Kuala Lumpur's eleven parliamentary constituencies, with estimated population and percentage of the total, are congruent with administrative subdivisions under the authority of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall authority.[89]These 11 districts can be divided into 29 subdistricts.[90][better source needed]

  1. Bukit Bintang (103,820 - 5.8%)
  2. Titiwangsa (198,690 - 11.1%)
  3. Setiawangsa (179,000 - 10.0%)
  4. Wangsa Maju (227,330 - 12.7%)
  5. Batu (91,290 - 5.1%)
  6. Kepong (10,740 - 0.6%)
  7. Segambut (125,300 - 7%)
  8. Lembah Pantai (189,740 - 10.6%)
  9. Seputeh (230,910 - 12.9%)
  10. Bandar Tun Razak (273,870 - 15.3%)
  11. Cheras (159,310 - 8.9%)


Members of Parliament for Kuala Lumpur
Malaysian general election, 2018
5 / 11
4 / 11
2 / 11

Kuala Lumpur is home to the Parliament of Malaysia. The hierarchy of authority in Malaysia, in accordance with the Federal Constitution, has stipulated the three branches, of the Malaysian government as consisting of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches. The Parliament consists of the Dewan Negara (Upper House / House of Senate) and Dewan Rakyat (Lower House / House of Representatives).[11] List of Kuala Lumpur representatives in the Federal Parliament (Dewan Rakyat)

Parliament Seat Name Member of Parliament Party
P114 Kepong Lim Lip Eng Pakatan Harapan (DAP)
P115 Batu P Prabakaran Pakatan Harapan (PKR)
P116 Wangsa Maju Tan Yee Kew Pakatan Harapan (PKR)
P117 Segambut Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan Pakatan Harapan (DAP)
P118 Setiawangsa Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad Pakatan Harapan (PKR)
P119 Titiwangsa Rina Mohd. Harun Perikatan Nasional (PPBM)
P120 Bukit Bintang Fong Kui Lun Pakatan Harapan (DAP)
P121 Lembah Pantai Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil Pakatan Harapan (PKR)
P122 Seputeh Teresa Kok Suh Sim Pakatan Harapan (DAP)
P123 Cheras Tan Kok Wai Pakatan Harapan (DAP)
P124 Bandar Tun Razak Kamaruddin Jaffar Perikatan Nasional (PPBM)


A pedestrian mall by the Central Market.

Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialised and economically, the fastest growing region in Malaysia.[91] Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain government institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the city.[92] The city remains as the economic and business hub in the country. Kuala Lumpur is a centre for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is rated as an alpha world city, and is the only global city in Malaysia, according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC).[93] The infrastructure development in the surrounding areas such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, the creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor and the expansion of Port Klang further reinforce the economic significance of the city.

Bursa Malaysia or the Malaysia Exchange is based in the city and forms one of its core economic activities. As of 5 July 2013, the market capitalisation stood at US$505.67 billion.[94]

The Exchange 106 (TRX Tower) is the second tallest building in Malaysia.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Kuala Lumpur is estimated at RM73,536 million in 2008 with an average annual growth rate of 5.9 percent.[95][96] By 2015, the GDP has reached RM160,388 million, representing 15.1% of the total GDP of Malaysia.[97] The per capita GDP for Kuala Lumpur in 2013 was RM79,752 with an average annual growth rate of 5.6 percent,[98] and RM94,722 in 2015.[97] Average monthly household income is RM9,073 (~$2,200) as of 2016, growing at a pace of approximately 6% a year.[99] The service sector comprising finance, insurance, real estate, business services, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, transport, storage and communication, utilities, personal services and government services form the largest component of employment representing about 83.0 percent of the total.[100] The remaining 17 percent comes from manufacturing and construction.

The Merdeka 118 (PNB 118) will be the tallest building in Malaysia and second tallest building in the world. (currently under construction)

The large service sector is evident in the number of local and foreign banks and insurance companies operating in the city. Kuala Lumpur is poised to become the global Islamic Financing hub[101] with an increasing number of financial institutions providing Islamic Financing and the strong presence of Gulf's financial institutions such as the world's largest Islamic bank, Al-Rajhi Bank[102] and Kuwait Finance House. Apart from that, the Dow Jones & Company is keen to work with Bursa Malaysia to set up Islamic Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs), which would help raise Malaysia's profile in the Gulf.[103] The city has a large number of foreign corporations and is also host to many multi national companies' regional offices or support centres, particularly for finance and accounting, and information technology functions. Most of the country's largest companies have their headquarters here, and as of December 2007 and excluding Petronas, there are 14 companies that are listed in Forbes 2000 based in Kuala Lumpur.[104]

Other important economic activities in the city are education and health services. Kuala Lumpur also has advantages stemming from the high concentration of educational institutions that provide a wide-ranging of courses. Numerous public and private medical specialist centres and hospitals in the city offer general health services, and a wide range of specialist surgery and treatment that caters to locals and tourists.

The Petronas Twin Towers, Maxis Tower and Four Seasons Place KL from left.

There has been growing emphasis to expand the economic scope of the city into other service activities, such as research and development, which supports the rest of the economy of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur has been home for years to important research centres such as the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and the Institute of Medical Research.[105] A new financial district for Kuala Lumpur is currently under construction which is the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), formerly known as Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD). The TRX's landmark and prominent building is The Exchange 106 tower. The 70-acre development will be situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and will serve international finance and business opportunities. The new financial hub is a strategic enabler of the Malaysian government's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), an initiative by the Malaysian government to turn Malaysia into a high income economy nation.


Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur's bustling Chinatown
The Istana Negara or known as National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Tourism plays an important role in the city's service-driven economy. Many large worldwide hotel chains have a presence in the city. One of the oldest hotels is the Hotel Majestic. Kuala Lumpur is the sixth most visited city in the world, with 8.9 million tourists per year.[106][107] Tourism here is driven by the city's cultural diversity, relatively low costs, and wide gastronomic and shopping variety. MICE tourism, which mainly encompasses conventions— has expanded in recent years to become a vital component of the industry, and is expected to grow further once the Malaysian government's Economic Transformation Programme kicks in, and with the completion of a new 93,000 square meter-size MATRADE Centre in 2014.[108] The MATRADE agency is also the owner of the Malaysia International Trade And Exhibition Centre (MITEC), the largest trade and exhibition centre of Malaysia which is a component of the larger KL Metropolis development situated in the suburb of Segambut. Another notable trend is the increased presence of budget hotels in the city.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a historic building designed in the Moorish style and formerly housed various government offices.

The major tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur include the Petronas Twin Towers, the Bukit Bintang shopping district, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, Petaling Street (Chinatown), the Merdeka Square, the Kuala Lumpur railway station, the House of Parliament building, the National Palace (Istana Negara), the National Museum, the Royal Museum, Islamic Arts Museum, Central Market, KL Bird Park, Aquaria KLCC, , Saloma Link, the National Monument, and religious sites such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque, Thean Hou Temple and Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields.[109] Kuala Lumpur plays host to many cultural festivals such as the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Every year during the Thaipusam celebration, a silver chariot carrying the statue of Lord Muruga together with his consort Valli and Teivayanni would be paraded through the city beginning at the temple all the way to Batu Caves in the neighboring Gombak, Selangor.[110]

The entertainment hub of the city is mainly centred in the Golden Triangle encompassing Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Ampang Road and Bintang Walk as well as Kuala Lumpur's largest nightlife and entertainment hotspot, . Trendy nightclubs, bars and lounges, such as Marini's on 57, Skybar at Traders Hotel, the Beach Club, Espanda, the Hakka Republic Wine Bar & Restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe, the Luna Bar, Nuovo, Rum Jungle, No Black Tie, the Thai Club, Zion Club, Zouk KL, Club Kyō, Dragonfly KL and many others are located here.


Kuala Lumpur alone has 66 shopping malls and is the retail and fashion hub in Malaysia as well as Southeast Asia.[111] Shopping in Malaysia contributed RM7.7 billion (US$2.26 billion) or 20.8 percent of the RM31.9 billion tourism receipts in 2006.[112]

Suria KLCC is one of Malaysia's premier upscale shopping destination due to its location beneath the Petronas Twin Towers. Apart from Suria KLCC, the Bukit Bintang district has the highest concentration of shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. It includes: Pavilion KL, Fahrenheit 88, Plaza Low Yat, Berjaya Times Square, Lot 10, Sungei Wang Plaza, Starhill Gallery, Quill City Mall and .[113] Changkat area of Bukit Bintang hosts various cafes, alfresco dining outlets, illegal activities such as prostitution and more, it is best known as one of the red-light districts in Kuala Lumpur. Bangsar district also has a few shopping complexes, including , , , Bangsar South, KL Eco City and Mid Valley Megamall.

Apart from shopping complexes, Kuala Lumpur has designated numerous zones in the city to market locally manufactured products such as textiles, fabrics and handicrafts. The Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur, commonly known as Petaling Street, is one of them. Chinatown features many pre-independence buildings with Straits Chinese and colonial architectural influences.[114][115]

Since 2000, the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism introduced the mega sale event for shopping in Malaysia. The mega sale event at the time is held three times a year – in March, May and December – during which all shopping malls are encouraged to participate to boost Kuala Lumpur as a leading shopping destination in Asia which being maintained until present with new mega sales.[116]


Kuala Lumpur is the most populous city in Malaysia, with a population of 1.76 million in the city proper as of 2016.[117] It has a population density of 6,696 inhabitants per square kilometre (17,340/sq mi), and is the most densely populated administrative district in Malaysia.[3] Residents of the city are colloquially known as KLites.[118] Kuala Lumpur is also the centre of the wider Klang Valley metropolitan (covering Petaling Jaya, Klang, Subang Jaya, Puchong, Shah Alam, Gombak and others) which has an estimated metropolitan population of 7.25 million as of 2017.[119]

Kuala Lumpur's heterogeneous populace includes the country's three major ethnic groups: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, although the city also has a mix of different cultures including Eurasians, as well as Kadazans, Ibans and other indigenous races from around Malaysia.[100][120]

Historical demographics

Ethnicities of Kuala Lumpur – 2015 Population Quick Info[121]
Ethnic group Percent
Religion in Kuala Lumpur – 2010 Census[122]
Religion Percent
Unknown / None
Chinese Ethnic Religion
No Religion

Historically Kuala Lumpur was a predominantly Chinese city, although more recently the Bumiputra component of the city has increased substantially and they are now the dominant group. The Kuala Lumpur of 1872 beside the Klang River was described by Frank Swettenham as a "purely Chinese village", although a Malay stockade already existed at Bukit Nanas at that time.[26] By 1875, after the Selangor Civil War participated by Pahang Malays had ended, Swettenham noted Malay quarters near the Chinese area in a sketch map he had drawn, and there were said to be 1,000 Chinese and 700 Malays in the town in this period (many of the Malays may have settled in Kuala Lumpur after the war).[26] The population of Kuala Lumpur had increased to around three thousand in 1880 when it was made the capital of Selangor.[123] A significant component of the Malay population in Kuala Lumpur of this period consisted of Malays recruited by the British in 1880 mostly from rural Malacca to establish a police force of 2–300, many of whom then brought their families here.[124] Many of the Malays were originally from the other islands of Malay Archipelago i.e. Sumatra and Java such as the Mandailings, the Minangkabaus, Javanese, and Buginese began arriving in Kuala Lumpur in the 19th century, while the Acehnese arrived in the late 20th century.[125] In the following decade which saw the rebuilding of the town it showed considerable increase with a large influx of immigrants, due in large part to the construction of a railway line in 1886 connecting Kuala Lumpur and Klang.[29]

A census in 1891 of uncertain accuracy gave a figure of 43,796 inhabitants, 79% of whom were Chinese (71% of the Chinese were Hakka 客家人), 14% Malay, and 6% Indian.[123] Another perhaps more accurate estimate put the population of Kuala Lumpur in 1890 at 20,000.[29] The rubber boom in the early 20th century lead to a further increase in population, from 30,000 in 1900 to 80,000 in 1920.[56] In 1931, 61% of Kuala Lumpur's 111,418 inhabitants were Chinese,[126] and in 1947 63.5%. The Malays however began to settle in the Kuala Lumpur in significant numbers, in part due to government employment, as well as the expansion of the city that absorbed the surrounding rural areas where many Malays lived. Between 1947 and 1957 the population of Malays in Kuala Lumpur doubled, increasing from 12.5 to 15%, while the proportion of Chinese dropped.[127] The process continued after Malayan independence with the growth of a largely Malay civil service, and later the implementation of the New Economic Policy which encouraged Malay participation in urban industries and business. In 1980 the population of Kuala Lumpur had reached over a million,[55] with 52% Chinese, 33% Malay, and 15% Indian.[128] From 1980 to 2000 the number of Bumiputras increased by 77%, but the Chinese still outnumbered the Bumiputras in Kuala Lumpur in the 2000 census at 43% compared to Bumiputras at 38%.[100][65] By the 2010 census, according to the Department of Statistics and excluding non-citizens, the percentage of the Bumiputera population in Kuala Lumpur had reached around 45.9% (44.7% Malay), with the Chinese population at 43.2% and Indians 10.3%.[122]

A notable phenomenon in recent times has been the increase of foreign residents in Kuala Lumpur, which rose from 1% of the city's population in 1980 to about 8% in the 2000 census, and 9.4% in the 2010 census.[100][122] These figures also do not include a significant number of illegal immigrants.[129] Kuala Lumpur's rapid development has triggered a huge influx of low-skilled foreign workers from Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia into Malaysia, many of whom enter the country illegally or without proper permits.[130][131]

Birth rates in Kuala Lumpur have declined and resulted in the lower proportion of young people – the proportion of those in the below 15 years old category fell from 33% in 1980 to slightly less than 27% in 2000.[100] On the other hand, the working age group of 15–59 increased from 63% in 1980 to 67% in 2000.[100] The elderly age group, 60 years old and above has increased from 4% in 1980 and 1991 to 6% in 2000.[100]

Languages and religions

Clockwise from top left: Masjid Negara, Thean Hou Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, St. John's Cathedral

Kuala Lumpur is pluralistic and religiously diverse. The city has many places of worship catering to the multi-religious population. Islam is practised primarily by the Malays, the Indian Muslim communities and a small number of Chinese Muslims. Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are practised mainly among the Chinese. Indians traditionally adhere to Hinduism. Some Chinese and Indians also subscribe to Christianity.[132]

As of 2010 Census, the population of Kuala Lumpur was 46.4% Muslim, 35.7% Buddhist, 8.5% Hindu, 5.8% Christian, 1.4% of unknown affiliations, 1.1% Taoist or Chinese religion adherent, 0.6% follower of other religions, and 0.5% non-religious.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the three states where less than 50% of the population are self-identified Muslims, the other two being Penang and Sarawak.

Statistics from the 2010 Census indicate that 87.4% of the Chinese population identify as Buddhists, with significant minorities of adherents identifying as Christians (7.9%), Chinese folk religions (2.7%) and Muslims (0.6%). The majority of the Indian population identify as Hindus (81.1%), with a significant minorities of numbers identifying as Christians (7.8%), Muslims (4.9%) and Buddhists (2.1%). The non-Malay bumiputera community are predominantly Christians (44.9%), with significant minorities identifying as Muslims (31.2%) and Buddhists (13.5%). All bumiputera Malays are Muslim;[133] this is due to the criterion in the definition of a Malay in the Malaysian constitution that they should adhere to Islam.[134]

Bahasa Malaysia is the principal language in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur residents are generally literate in English, with a large proportion adopting it as their first language. Malaysian English is a variant widely used.[135] It has a strong presence, especially in business and is a compulsory language taught in schools.[120] Cantonese and Mandarin are prominent as they are spoken by the local majority Chinese population.[136] Another major dialect spoken is Hakka. While Tamil is dominant amongst the local Indian population, other Indian languages spoken by minorities include Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Hindi.[137] Beside the Malay language, there are a variety of languages spoken by people of Indonesian descent, such as Minangkabau[138] and Javanese.



The Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (right) contrasts with a Keretapi Tanah Melayu (left) Administration Building darker, similarly Mughal-styled building. Both designed by A. B. Hubback

The architecture of Kuala Lumpur is a mixture of old colonial influences, Asian traditions, Malay Islamic inspirations, modern, and postmodern architecture mix.[139] Being a relatively young city compared with other Southeast Asian capitals such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila, most of Kuala Lumpur's notable colonial-era buildings were built toward the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. These buildings were designed in a number of styles – Mughal/Moorish Revival, Mock Tudor, Neo-Gothic or Grecian-Spanish style or architecture.[140] Most of the styling has been modified to use local resources and acclimatised to the local climate, which is hot and humid all year around. A significant architect of the early period is Arthur Benison Hubback who designed a number of the colonial era buildings including the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and Jamek Mosque.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower

Prior to the Second World War, many shophouses, usually two stories with functional shops on the ground floor and separate residential spaces upstairs, were built around the old city centre. These shop-houses drew inspiration from Straits Chinese and European traditions.[114][115] Some of these shophouses have made way for new developments but there are still many standing today around Medan Pasar Besar (Old Market Square), Chinatown, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Doraisamy, Bukit Bintang and Tengkat Tong Shin areas.

Jamek Mosque (Masjid Jamek) is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Kuala Lumpur, built in 1909.

Independence coupled with the rapid economic growth from the 1970s to the 1990s and with Islam being the official religion in the country, has resulted in the construction of buildings with a more local and Islamic flavour arise around the city. Many of these buildings derive their design from traditional Malay items such as the songkok and the keris. Some of these buildings have Islamic geometric motifs integrated with the designs of the building, signifying Islamic restriction on imitating nature through drawings.[141] Examples of these buildings are Telekom Tower, Maybank Tower, Dayabumi Complex, and the Islamic Centre.[142] Some buildings such as the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and National Planetarium have been built to masquerade as a place of worship, complete with dome and minaret, when in fact it is a place of science and knowledge. The 452-metre (1,483 ft) tall Petronas Towers are the tallest twin buildings in the world and the tallest buildings in the country.[143] They were designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art.[144]

Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the late-1990s and early-2000s. With the economic development, old buildings such as Bok House have been razed to make way for new ones. Buildings with all-glass shells exist throughout the city, with the most prominent examples being the Petronas Towers and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Kuala Lumpur's central business district today has shifted around the Kuala Lumpur city centre (KLCC) where many new and tall buildings with modern and postmodern architecture fill the skyline. According to the World Tallest 50 Urban Agglomeration 2010 Projection by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 10th among cities to have most buildings above 100 metres with a combined height of 34,035 metres from its 244 high rise buildings.[145]


KLCC Park in the city centre.

The Lake Gardens, a 92-hectare (230-acre) botanical garden, is the first recreational park created in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Parliament building is located close by, and Carcosa Seri Negara which was once the official residence of British colonial administration is also sited here. The park includes a Butterfly Park, Deer Park, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, which is the world's largest aviary bird park.[146] Other parks in the city include the ASEAN Sculpture Garden, KLCC Park, Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, Metropolitan Lake Gardens in Kepong, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Taman Tasik Permaisuri (Queen's Lake Gardens), Bukit Kiara Botanical Gardens, Equestrian Park and West Valley Park near TTDI, and Bukit Jalil International Park.

There are three forest reserves within the city namely the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve in the city centre, the oldest gazetted forest reserve in the country 10.52 ha or 26.0 acres, Bukit Sungai Putih Forest Reserve (7.41 ha or 18.3 acres) and Bukit Sungai Besi Forest Reserve (42.11 ha or 104.1 acres). Bukit Nanas, in the heart of the city centre, is one of the oldest virgin forests in the world within a city.[147] These residual forest areas are home to a number of fauna species particularly monkeys, treeshrews, pygmy goats, budgerigars, squirrels and birds.

There is another park in the close vicinity to Kuala Lumpur i.e. Templer Park initiated and opened by Sir Gerald Templer in 1954 during the "Emergency" time.[148]

The view of Kuala Lumpur from Titiwangsa Lake Gardens


According to government statistics, Kuala Lumpur has a literacy rate of 97.5% in 2000, the highest rate in any state or territory in Malaysia.[149] In Malaysia, Malay is the language of instruction for most subjects while English is a compulsory subject, but as of 2012, English is still the language of instruction for mathematics and the natural sciences for certain schools. Some schools provide Mandarin and Tamil as languages of instruction for certain subjects. Each level of education demands different skills of teaching and learning ability.[150]

Kuala Lumpur contains 14 tertiary education institutions, 79 high schools, 155 elementary schools and 136 kindergartens.[151]

Several institutions in the city are older than 100 years—such as Bukit Bintang Girls' School (1893–2000, relocated to Taman Shamelin Perkasa in Cheras and renamed GIS Garden International school Seri Bintang Utara), the Victoria Institution (1893); Methodist Girls' School (1896); Methodist Boys' School (1897); Convent Bukit Nanas (1899), St. John's Institution (1904), Confucian Private Secondary School (1906), Kuen Cheng High School (1908), Tsun Jin High School (1913) and Maxwell School (1917).

University of Malaya City View.

Kuala Lumpur is home to the University of Malaya (UM). Established in 1949, it is the oldest university in Malaysia, and one of the oldest in the region.[152] It was ranked the best university in Malaysia, the 22nd best in Asia, and 3rd in Southeast Asia in QS World University Rankings 2019.[153] In recent years, the number of international students at University of Malaya has risen, as a result of increasing efforts made to attract more international students.[154]

Other universities located in Kuala Lumpur include Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC), UCSI University (UCSI), Taylor's University (TULC), International Medical University (IMU), Open University Malaysia (OUM), Kuala Lumpur University (UniKL), Perdana University (PU), Wawasan Open University (WOU), HELP University and the branch campus of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) and University of Technology Malaysia (UTM). The National Defence University of Malaysia is located at Sungai Besi Army Base, at the southern part of central Kuala Lumpur. It was established to be a major centre for military and defence technology studies. This institution covers studies in the field of army, navy, and air force.[155]

Greater Kuala Lumpur covers an even more extensive selection of universities including several international branches such as Monash University Malaysia Campus, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and Xiamen University Malaysia.



Frieze depicting Malaysian history at the National Museum.

Kuala Lumpur is a hub for cultural activities and events in Malaysia. Among the centres is the National Museum, which is situated along the Mahameru Highway. Its collection comprises artefacts and paintings collected throughout the country.[156] The Islamic Arts Museum, which houses more than seven thousand Islamic artefacts including rare exhibits as well as a library of Islamic art books, is the largest Islamic Arts collection in Southeast Asia.[157] The museum's collection not only concentrate on works from the Middle East, but also includes work from elsewhere in Asia, such as China and Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur has a Craft Complex coupled with a museum that displays a variety of textile, ceramic, metal craft and weaved products. All the information of the production process are portrayed in diorama format complete with historical facts, technique and traditionally engineered equipment. Among the processes shown are pottery making, intricate wood carving, silver-smithing, weaving songket cloth, stamping batik patterns on cloth and boat making.[158] Royal Selangor has an ultra modern visitor's centre, which allows tours to be conducted through its pewter museum, gallery and its factory. In its pewtersmithing workshop, "The School of Hard Knocks", participants are taught to create their own pewter dish using traditional tools and methods.

The Saloma Link seen at dusk.

The premier performing arts venue is the Petronas Philharmonic Hall located underneath the Petronas Towers. The resident orchestra is the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), consisting of musicians from all over the world and features regular concerts, chamber concerts and traditional cultural performances.[159] The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) in Sentul West and (DPac) in Damansara Perdana are two of the most established centres for performing arts, notably theatre, plays, music, and film screening in the country. It has housed many local productions and has been a supporter of local and regional independent performance artists.[160] The Future Music Festival Asia are being held in the city since 2012 featuring local and international artists.[161]

The National Art Gallery of Malaysia is located on Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak on a 5.67-hectare (14.0-acre) site neighbouring the National Theatre (Istana Budaya) and National Library. The architecture of the gallery incorporates elements of traditional Malay architecture, as well as contemporary modern architecture. The National Art Gallery serves as a centre of excellence and trustee of the national art heritage. The Petronas Art Gallery, another centre for fine art, is situated in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). The Ilham Tower Gallery near Ampang Park houses exhibitions of works by local and foreign artists.

Kuala Lumpur holds the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival annually.[162] Another event hosted annually by the city is the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week,[163] which includes international brands as well as local designers.

Kuala Lumpur also is becoming the centre for new media, innovation and creative industry development in the region and hosts the international creative industry event, Kreative.Asia. Kreative.Asia gathers local, regional and international experts in the creative industry who are involved in the creation, development and delivery of interactive content, arts, community and applications. Kuala Lumpur is at the forefront of the convergence of media, art, culture and communications.

Sports and recreation

Bukit Jalil National Stadium is an all-seater multi-purpose stadium that was built in January 1995.

Kuala Lumpur has numerous parks, gardens and open spaces for recreational purposes. Total open space for recreational and sport facilities land use in the city has increased significantly by 169.6 percent from 5.86 square kilometres (1,450 acres) in 1984 to 15.8 square kilometres (3,900 acres) in 2000.[164]

Kuala Lumpur was touted as one of the host cities for the Formula One World Championship from 1999 to 2017.[165] The open-wheel auto racing A1 Grand Prix[166] was held until the series folded in 2009. The Motorcycle Grand Prix[167] races are held at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang in the neighbouring state of Selangor. The Formula One event contributed significantly to tourist arrivals and tourism income to Kuala Lumpur. This was evident during the Asian financial crisis in 1998. Despite cities around Asia suffering declining tourist arrivals, Kuala Lumpur tourist arrivals increased from 6,210,900 in 1997 to 10,221,600 in 2000, or 64.6% increase in tourist arrivals.[168] In 2015, the Kuala Lumpur Street Circuit was constructed to host the Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix motor racing event.

Football is one of the most popular sports in Kuala Lumpur. The Merdeka Tournament is mainly held at Stadium Merdeka. The city is also the home of Kuala Lumpur City, which plays in the Malaysia Super League.

Kuala Lumpur hosted the official Asian Basketball Championship in 1965, 1977 and 1985. The city's basketball supporters cheered Malaysia's national basketball team to a Final Four finish in 1985, the team's best performance to date. Further, the city is home to the Kuala Lumpur Dragons, 2016 Champion of the ASEAN Basketball League.[169] The team plays its home games in the MABA Stadium.

KL Grand Prix CSI 5*,[170] a five-star international showjumping equestrian event is held annually in the city. This annual event draws the world's top riders and their prized horses to Malaysia.

Other annual sport events hosted by the city include the KL Tower Run,[171] the KL Tower International BASE Jump Merdeka Circuit and the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon. Kuala Lumpur is also one of the stages of the Tour de Langkawi cycling race.[172]

The annual Malaysia Open Super Series badminton tournament is held in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur has a considerable array of sports facilities of international class after hosting the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Many of these facilities including the main stadium (with running track and a football field), hockey stadium and swimming pools are located in the National Sports Complex at Bukit Jalil while a velodrome and more swimming pools are located in Bandar Tun Razak, next to the Taman Tasik Permaisuri Lake Gardens. There are also football fields, local sports complexes, swimming pools and tennis courts scattered around the suburbs. Badminton and 'takraw' courts are usually included in community halls. The AFC House—current headquarters of the Asian Football Confederation—is built on a 4-acre (1.6 ha) complex in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Bukit Jalil.

Kuala Lumpur has several golf courses including the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) and the Malaysia Civil Service Golf Club in Kiara and the Berjaya Golf Course at Bukit Jalil. The city also has numerous large private fitness centres run by Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First, True Fitness and major five-star hotels.

Kuala Lumpur is also the birthplace of Hashing, which began in December 1938 when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates, some from the Selangor Club, began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds".[173]

Kuala Lumpur hosted the 128th IOC Session in 2015 where the IOC elected Beijing as the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics[174] and Lausanne as the host city of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.[175]


The Kuala Lumpur Tower is an important broadcast centre in the country.

Kuala Lumpur daily, business, and digital papers include The Malaysian Reserve, The Edge, The Star, New Straits Times, The Sun, Malay Mail, Berita Harian, and Harian Metro. Mandarin and Tamil newspapers are also published daily, for example Sin Chew Daily, China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau and Tamil Nesan, Malaysia Nanban, and Makkal Osai.

Kuala Lumpur is also the headquarters for Malaysia's state media public government terrestrial television stations: TV1 and TV2, the subsidiaries of RTM, TV Alhijrah, a subsidiary of Alhijrah Media Corporation, and Media Prima Berhad, a media corporation that houses the private commercial terrestrial television stations: TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9. Programmes are broadcast in Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil.

TM Tower is the headquarters of Malaysia's principal telecommunication service provider, Telekom Malaysia.

The city is home to the country's main pay television service, Astro, a satellite television service.

Kuala Lumpur female diva pop singer including Elizabeth Tan, Ernie Zakri and Azira Shafinaz.

Kuala Lumpur has been featured in all aspects of popular culture such as movies, television, music and books. Television series set in Kuala Lumpur include A Tale of 2 Cities (starring Rui En and Joanne Peh). Movies set in Kuala Lumpur include Police Story 3: Super Cop (starring Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh) and Entrapment (starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones), in which the Petronas Towers were depicted in flames for a few seconds.[176]

Books set in Kuala Lumpur include KL 24/7 by Ida M Rahim, Shireen Zainudin and Rizal Zainudin,[177] My Life As a Fake by Peter Carey, and Democracy by Joan Didion.[178]

A few notable local films featured Kuala Lumpur as background location, such as Masam-masam Manis (1965), Keluarga Si Comat (1973), Jiwa Remaja (1976), Abang (1981), Matinya Seorang Patriot (1984), Kembara Seniman Jalanan (1986), Orang Kampung Otak Kimia (1988), Hati Bukan Kristal (1990), Mat Som (1990), Mira Edora (1990), Femina (1993), Maria Mariana (1996), Hanya Kawan (1997), KLU (1999), Soal Hati (2000), KL Menjerit (2002), Laila Isabella (2003), Gangster (2005), Gol & Gincu (2005), Remp-it (2006), Cinta (2006), Anak Halal (2007) Evolusi KL Drift (2008), Adnan Sempit (2010), KL Gangster (2011), Kepong Gangster (2012), Lagenda Budak Setan 2: Katerina (2012) and Kolumpo (2013). A few local films featured Kuala Lumpur during the historical era, such as 1975: Hati Malaya (2007), Petaling Streets Warrior (2011) and Tanda Putera (2013).

Kuala Lumpur is mentioned in many songs by local Malaysian artists, such as "Keroncong Kuala Lumpur'" by P. Ramlee, "Kuala Lumpur, Ibu Kota" by Saloma, "Chow Kit Road" by Sudirman Arshad, "Senyumlah Kuala Lumpur" by Alleycats, "Streets of Kuala Lumpur" by Murkyway, "K.L." by Vandal, "Kuala Lumpur" by Poetic Ammo, "Anak Dara" by Azmyl Yunor, "KL"' by Too Phat, "Kotarayaku" by Hujan and Altimet, and "Lagu Untuk Kuala Lumpur" by Tom.

Kuala Lumpur was one of the destinations in The Amazing Race Asia and The Amazing Race.[179]

Video games have also been set in Kuala Lumpur, including three levels of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and two tracks in racing game Burnout Dominator.

A reality game show set in Kuala Lumpur from February until April 2013 was aired on AXN Asia. The Apprentice Asia was launched on 22 May 2013.


The decorative relief wall portraying the Rukun Negara, the Malaysian national pledge, at the Upper Concourse Level of Merdeka MRT station.

Like most other Asian cities, driving is the main mode of commuting in Kuala Lumpur.[180] Hence, every part of the city is well connected by highways. As capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road network with more transportation development are being planned and carried out.[181] The largest public transportation covers a variety of transport modes such as bus, rail and taxi. Despite efforts to promote usage of public transport, utilisation rates are low as only 16 percent of the population used public transport in 2006.[180] However, public transport utilisation is set to rise with the expansion of the rail network.,[182] which was operated by Prasarana Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley via its subsidiaries Rapid Rail and Rapid Bus, using Rapid KL brand name.[183] Since the take over from Intrakota Komposit Sdn Bhd, Prasarana Malaysia has redrawn the entire bus network of Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley metropolitan area[184] to increase passenger numbers and improve Kuala Lumpur's public transport system. The Prasarana Malaysia has adopted the hub and spoke system to provide greater connectivity, and cut down the need of more buses.[185][186] KL Sentral was added on 16 April 2001 and served as the new transport hub of the Klang Valley Integrated Transit System.

Urban rail

Major urban rail transportation in Kuala Lumpur. Clockwise from top: MRT Kajang Line, LRT Ampang/Sri Petaling Line, LRT Kelana Jaya Line, KTM Komuter, and KL Monorail

The KTM Komuter, a commuter rail service, was introduced in 1995 as the first rail transit system to provide local rail services in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley suburban areas. Services were later expanded to other parts of Malaysia with the introduction of the Northern and Southern sectors.[187] KTM Komuter's 175 km (109 mi) network in the Central Sector has 53 stations. It consists of two cross-city routes, namely the Port Klang Line (Tanjung Malim to Port Klang) and Seremban Line (Batu Caves to Pulau Sebang/Tampin). Transfers between the two main lines can be made at any of the four stations on the central core: KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Bank Negara and Putra.

Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Malaysia is the medium-capacity rail lines in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. The first LRT line was opened in 1996 and the system has since expanded to three lines, which was opened in 1998 and 1999. Along with the MRT, the LRT is constructed and owned by the Prasarana, with operating concessions currently handed to Rapid KL and Rapid Rail. In 2006, the government announced the Sri Petaling Line and Kelana Jaya line extension projects.[188] Unlike the original line, which uses the Fixed-block signaling system, the extension uses the Communications-based train control (CBTC) signaling system.[189][190]

Entrance A of the Tun Razak Exchange MRT station. The station is designed to look more business-friendly as it is located and named after a new under-development financial district for Kuala Lumpur, TRX.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Malaysia is a heavy rail rapid transit system that constitutes the bulk of the railway network in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the Klang Valley. The first section of the MRT opened on 16 December 2016, and the network has since grown rapidly in accordance with Malaysia's aim of developing a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of the country's public transportation system. The network consists of three lines – the 13 MRT Circle Line, looping around Kuala Lumpur, the 9 MRT Kajang Line and the 12 MRT Putrajaya Line covering a 20 km radius in the southeast–northwest direction from the city centre – will integrate the current rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur and serve high-density areas which are currently not serviced by any rapid transit system. About 90 new stations are planned in this "Wheel and Spoke" concept, out of which 26 in the city centre will be underground. Ridership capacity will be 2 million passengers per day.[191]

The KL Monorail was opened on 31 August 2003 with 11 stations running 8.6 km (5 mi) on two parallel elevated tracks. The line is numbered 8 and coloured light green on official transit maps. It connects the KL Sentral transport hub in the south and Titiwangsa in the north with the "Golden Triangle", a commercial, shopping, and entertainment area comprising Bukit Bintang, Imbi, Sultan Ismail, and Raja Chulan.[192]

Airport rail link in Kuala Lumpur: ERL (left) and Skypark Link (right)

Kuala Lumpur is served by two airports. The main airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang, Selangor, which is also the aviation hub of Malaysia, is located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of city. The other airport is Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, also known as Subang Skypark and served as the main international gateway to Kuala Lumpur from 1965 until KLIA opened in 1998. KLIA connects the city with direct flights to destinations in six continents around the world,[193] and is the main hub for the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines and low-cost carrier, AirAsia. KLIA can be reached using the KLIA Ekspres, an airport rail link service from KL Sentral, which takes twenty-eight minutes and costs RM 55 (roughly US$13.50),[194] while travelling by car or bus via highway will take about an hour but cost a lot less. Direct buses from KLIA to the city centre are plentiful (every 10 to 15 minutes during peak hours), air-conditioned and comfortable with fares ranging from RM 11 (roughly US$2.70) to RM 15 (roughly US$3.70). Air Asia and other low-cost carrier flights do not fly out of KLIA main terminal but from KLIA2 which is two kilometres from KLIA. KLIA2 is served by an extension of the KLIA Ekspres and by a free shuttle bus service from KLIA. As of 2018, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport is only used for chartered and turboprop flights by airlines such as Firefly and Malindo Air.[195]


Double-deck buses crossing at Jalan Ampang
Bus stops at Jalan Pudu

Bas Mini KL or Kuala Lumpur Mini-Bus Service was one of the oldest and popular Malaysia public bus service, having served in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley region. The buses were primarily painted pink with a white stripe on the sides, and had a capacity of 20-30 passengers, due to its smaller size. The bus operated on a commission basis, with service operators being paid according to the fare they collected. The mini-bus service was from 23 September 1975 and discontinued on 1 July 1998, to be replaced by the Intrakota bus service and later, Rapid Bus in 2005.[196]

Rapid Bus began the first phase of the revamp of its bus network in January 2006 by introducing 15 City Shuttle bus routes which serve major areas in the Central Business District (CBD) of Kuala Lumpur. In 2008, Rapid Bus has operates 167 routes with 1,400 buses covering 980 residential areas with a ridership of about 400,000 per day.[197] The buses run between four hubs at the edge of the central business district, namely KL Sentral, Titiwangsa, KLCC and Maluri, and Medan Pasar in the city centre. These bus hubs also serve as rail interchanges, with the exception of Medan Pasar, although it is at a walking distance from Masjid Jamek LRT station.

On 18 June 2020, Rapid Bus released new features on real time locations of bus in Google Maps, via collaboration with Google Transit.[198][199][200][201] Effective 10 April 2019, all RapidKL buses is implementing full cashless journey for all routes by stages, in which the bus only accepts Touch n Go card only for user convenience. The systems were fully implemented by 27 May 2019.[202] Almost 170 RapidKL's bus routes are covered with this real time feature, and were expanded to MRT feeder bus service. Rapid Bus is however not the only bus operator in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley. Other bus operators such as Selangor Omnibus, Setara Jaya bus, and Causeway Link.


Typical public cab in Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur, most taxis have distinctive white and red liveries. Many companies operate & maintain pools of different model of cars in their own brands. Before the start of local car production, the Mercedes-Benz 200, Mazda 323/Ford Laser, Toyota Mark II X80 series and the Opel Kadett were used.[203] Most were scrapped and replaced by the Protons, but there are still a large number running the roads. Kuala Lumpur is one of the major ASEAN city with taxis extensively running on natural gas. Taxis can be hailed from taxi stands or from the streets. Taxis may be flagged down at any time of the day along any public road outside of the Central Business District (CBD). However, increased usage of ridesharing services like Grab, MyCar and JomRides has resulted in a decrease in the usage of taxis.[204]

Nevertheless, it was claimed by London-based website,, taxis services in the city are charging high rates to passengers by refusing to turn on their meter and offer instead a flat rate fare that is overpriced,[205] although other passengers refuted such claims. Even the heads of some taxi associations came out and shunned taxi drivers who had given the taxi industry a bad name, promising the public that not all taxi drivers were like that.[206]

Twin towns – sister cities

Isfahan street (formerly Jalan Selat, Straits Road) in Kuala Lumpur (above) and Kuala Lumpur avenue in Isfahan (below)

Kuala Lumpur is twinned with:

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