Kuala Lumpur Information & Tips
The geography of Kuala Lumpur is characterized by a huge valley known as 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 which translates to “muddy confluence” as it is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Located in the center of Selangor state, Kuala Lumpur was previously under the rule 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 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.
The municipality of the city covers an area of 243.65 km2 (94.07 sq mi), with an average elevation of 21.95 m (72.0 ft).
Kuala Lumpur has its origins in the 1850s, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah, hired some Chinese labourers to open new and larger tin mines. They landed at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang (Klang River) to open mines at Ampang. Sungai Gombak was previously known as Sungai Lumpur, which means muddy river. The Original name for this city was “Pengkalan Lumpur”, which means bundle of mud. As time passes by the name changed to Kuala Lumpur which literally means “muddy confluence” in Bahasa Melayu. Later, tin mines were opened at Pudu and Batu. Among the early notable pioneers are Hiu Siew and Liu Ngim Kong.
Protected by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east and Indonesia’s Sumatra Island in the west, Kuala Lumpur has a year-round equatorial Tropical rain forest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) which is warm and sunny, along with abundant rainfall, especially during the northeast monsoon season from October to March. Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover between 31 and 33 °C (88 and 91 °F) and have never exceeded 37 °C (99 °F), while minimums hover between 22 and 23.5 °C (72 and 74 °F) and have never fallen below 19 °C (66 °F). Kuala Lumpur typically receives 2,266 mm (89.2 in) of rain annually; June and July are relatively dry, but even then rainfall typically exceeds 125 mm (5 in) per month.
KL International Airport (KLIA), the pride of all Malaysians, is one of the most modern, sophisticated and preferred airports in the Asia Pacific Region. Located 51 kilometres away from Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, KLIA stands tall as one of the country’s prominent landmarks. Built within the span of 100km² in Sepang district, KLIA is one of Asia’s major aviation hubs and also one of the largest airport sites in the world!
Visitors to Kuala Lumpur have a variety of public transportation options to choose from when travelling around the city. With the city’s efficient network of Monorail, train, bus and taxi services – getting around KL is both convenient and affordable..
Unlike most other Asian cities, driving is the main mode of commuting in Kuala Lumpur. Hence, every part of the city is well connected by highways. As capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road network that leads to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. In terms of air connectivity, Kuala Lumpur is served by two airports. The main airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), 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, formerly known as Subang International Airport 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, and is the main hub for the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines and low cost carrier, AirAsia. KLIA can be reached using the KLIA Ekspres high-speed train service from KL Sentral which takes only twenty-eight minutes, while travelling by car via highway will take about an hour. PLEASE NOTE, that Air Asia flights do not fly out of KLIA. You need to go to the LCC terminal for Air Asia, which is served by buses from KL Sentral, and is a 20-30 minute taxi ride from KLIA. As of 2007, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport is only used for chartered and turboprops flights by airlines such as Firefly and Berjaya Air.
Chinese New Year is celebrated over a period of 15 days, beginning from the ‘first day of the Chinese lunar Calendar. It is a joyous occasion Marked by family reunions, giving of r!!;d packets or ‘ang pow’ by parent to their children or among relatives and well wishers. This practice coupled with the giving away of oranges is intended as a symbol of prosperity and good luck for the recipients. Another feature is the traditional lion dance.
The estimated population of Kuala Lumpur in the city proper for 2006 was 1.58 million. It has a population density of 6,502 inhabitants per square kilometre (16,840 /sq mi), and is the most densely populated administrative district in Malaysia. With an estimated metropolitan population of 6.9 million in 2007, it can be considered a primate city. The continuing decline in the birth rate for Kuala Lumpur has resulted in the decline in the proportion of young people below 15 years old from 33% in 1980 to slightly less than 27% in 2000. On the other hand, the working age group of 15–59 increased from 63% in 1980 to 67% in 2000. The elderly age group, 60 years old and above has increased from 4% in 1980 and 1991 to 6% in 2000. Based on the census of the Department of Statistics (see http://www.statistics.gov.my/eng/), the percentage of Bumiputera population in Kuala Lumpur alone was around 38% in 2000 (next census is in 2010) while the Chinese population comprised 43% and Indians 10%. A notable phenomenon has been the increase in the presence of foreign residents in Kuala Lumpur, who now constitute about 9% of the city’s population.
The local administration is carried out by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, an agency under the Federal Territories Ministry of Malaysia. They are 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. Since Kuala Lumpur became a Federal Territory of Malaysia on February 1, 1974, the city has been led by nine mayors. The current mayor of Kuala Lumpur is Dato’ Ahmad Fuad Ismail, who is in his first term of office. He was appointed in 2008.
Kuala Lumpur is home to the Parliament of Malaysia. The parliament is composed of a lower House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) and an upper House of Senate (Dewan Negara). The city is represented in the lower House of Representatives by eleven Members of Parliament (MPs), who are elected to five-year terms. Traditionally, political leanings in Kuala Lumpur have been dominated by Barisan Nasional (BN), with seven representatives from BN and the other four from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) prior to the 2008 General Elections. After the 2008 elections BN was left with just one representative, Zulhasnan Rafique, in the Setiawangsa seat. DAP took control of five seats, Parti Keadilan Rakyat taking four seats, and PAS one seat, marking the first time in which the majority of the Federal Territory’s constituencies was dominated by opposition parties.
Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialized and economically, the fastest growing region in Malaysia. Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain government’s important machineries such as Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the city.
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. In Malaysia, Malay is the language of instruction for most subjects while English is a compulsory subject and is used as the language of instruction for mathematics and the natural sciences. There are also schools which provide Mandarin and Tamil as languages of instruction for certain subjects.