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Selangor - Malaysia

SELANGOR, with an area of approximately 8,000 sq. km, extends along the west coast

of Peninsular Malaysia at the northern outlet of the Straits of Malacca. Its advantageous geographic position and rich natural resources have made Selangor the most prosperous state in Malaysia. Today it has the distinction of being the most populated state in Malaysia, with about 3.75 million inhabitants. A large proportion of Selangor's population lives around the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, though the balance is now shifting towards its new capital, Shah Alam.

HISTORY

In the late 15th-century Selangor fell under the dominion of the Malacca Sultanate. The discovery of tin deposits at the mouth of Klang River in the 15th century was the start of an influx of miners and immigrants, many of whom were Chinese, who saw this as a chnace for improved prosperity. The small town that these people built up was named after the river, Klang. In 1680 Selangor experienced mass immigration by Bugisan ethnic group from Indonesia, trying to escape Dutch control in their home island of Macassar. Eventually, the number of Bugis superseded the original Minangkabau population.

The protection of the Sultan of Malacca until the 16th century saw it flourish until the Bugis who established the royal Selangor Sultanate, the present sultanate, in 1740, with the capital at Kuala Selangor.

An influx of Chinese tin miners occurred in the 19th century, bringing with them their community traditions and social structure, most notably the secret society establishment. Similar to Perak, rival factions split the Selangor Chinese community. The situation became tense as the established power structure was disrupted by the emergence of various petty tin chiefs. However, the Chinese rivalry did not erupt to full-scale fighting until a Malay war over royal succession broke out in 1870. The tin trade came to a standstill. This led to British intervention in 1874. J.G. Davidson was installed as the first British Resident. By the middle of the 19th century, Klang, also known as Kelang, had prospered into a royal town whose strategic location played an integral role in the development of the state. The quest for riches continued, spreading further up the Klang River and it eventually leading to the inception of another settlement, Kuala Lumpur, which literally means "muddy confluence" in Malay, taken from the muddy river Klang.

Selangor became a Federated Malay State in 1896. The tin trade expanded rapidly but during that time there were also continued struggles among the Malay nobilities, Bugis and Chinese, this led to the opportunity for the British to step in and take control, both Klang and Kuala Lumpur continued to thrive well beyond Malaysia's independence in 1957.

British colonialists in London formed the Malayan Peninsula Planning Unit in 1943, and on 10th October 1945, the Malayan Union scheme was laid out before the British Parliament. A day later, Sir Harold MacMichael was sent to the Malayan Peninsula to obtain the agreement of the Malay Rulers. According to this agreement, Penang, Malacca and 9 other Malay states were united under the Malayan Union.

Malay opposition groups derailed the Malayan Union plan, and the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was formed under Dato' Onn Jaafar's leadership on 11th May 1946. The Malay Federation was founded on 1st February 1948 and on 31st August 1957, independence was declared. The British Military Administration took over the state following the end of the Japanese Occupation.

Today, while Kuala Lumpur has become the country's capital, Klang remains home to Port Klang (formerly known as Port Swettenham), the country's largest port. The success of the two has also spilled over to other parts of the country, notably the neighbouring cities of Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam, which are some 40 kilometres apart.


Flag

Emblem

The flag is divided into four equal-sized sections. The red sections denote the courage of the people of Selangor while the yellow sections are representative of the royal status of the head of state, the Sultan. The crescent moon and star on the upper left section are the symbols of Islam, the official religion of the state.

Selangor's emblem is an interesting amalgam of items that represent courage and royalty. The crescent moon and star in the centre represents Islam, the official religion. The central red spear, the Sambu Warna, the sword on the right, the Keris Pendek and the sword on the left, the Keris Panjang, are part of the state's Royal Regalia. The Jawi calligraphy in red reads the state's motto, 'Under the Protection of Allah'. A tali bengkung or broad belt worn by warriors of the state in ancient times appears below the motto.

TOWNS

Petaling Jaya

The Petaling district is one of the nine that have made Selangor the most developed and prosperous of the Malaysian states. While Selangor itself has a long history, the birth of Petaling Jaya (known as PJ among the locals) did not come about until the early 1950s.

To overcome the problems of accomodation for workers in Kuala Lumpur a new town was created by the British administration. The migration from Kuala Lumpur to the Petaling area started before the town was officially named in 1953 as Petaling Jaya. With the literal meaning of jaya being success, the new town was prophetically named. It started with low-cost wooden houses built by people whose livelihood was to be found in the capital. This little pekan (town in Malay), was the predecessor of what was to be known as "PJ Old Town". The name remains today and it now includes Seksyen 1, 2 and 3 of PJ.

The satellite town began to take shape by 1952 when 1,000 houses were under construction. Rubber and oil palm plantations made way for systematic infrastructure development. By the end of 1957, there were well over 3,200 houses in PJ, along with more than 100 shops and 28 factories. The year also saw the opening of the first phase of the Federal Highway (Lebuhraya Persekutuan) which divided PJ into two. Linking Kuala Lumpur, PJ and Port Klang, it enhanced PJ's reputation as a strategically located town, particularly in the eyes of industrialists and the affluent searching for prime residential land.

By 1964 the population had grown to 35,000. Relentless progress continued and by 1977 it had grown into an expansive town that included Seksyen 52, the Sungai Way-Subang (SS) area and the new township of Subang Jaya. Further expansion to the north later saw the rise of the vast Damansara area, which includes Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Bandar Sri Damansara and Damansara Impian.

Shah Alam

Carved out of an oil palm plantation known as Sungai Renggam, Shah Alam was officially founded in 1963 as a modern city to succeed Kuala Lumpur, which was then serving as both the federal capital and the state capital of Selangor. Being centrally located between Port Klang and Petaling Jaya and 30 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur, the site was chosen following a proposal by a United Nations adviser. In 1978 Shah Alam became the state capital.

INTERESTING PLACES

The Kota Darul Ehsan

The Kota Darul Ehsan arch is one of the most distinguished landmarks in Selangor. The gateway to Selangor is symbolised by this arch. Located along the Federal Highway and incorporating Moorish architecture, the arch creates a spellbinding effect to travelers on the highway in the evening with its illumination of royal gold colours in the evening.

Shah Alam Mosque

Located in Shah Alam, this state mosque stands majestically on 36 acres of scenic landscaped gardens and parkland. Designed by the present Sultan, it is the largest mosque in South East Asia with the tallest minarets (142.3m) in the world. The dome measures 190ft in diameter and the walls, and surfaces, are inlaid with exquisite calligraphic writing is verses from the Quran designed by eminent Egyptian Calligraphist.

Tugu Kris

In Klang, a towering silver Keris greets visitors to the state. The monument erected to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Sultan of Selangor installation in 1985. This memorial was specially designed to depict the Keris Semenanjung that symbolises power, strength and unity.

Selangor State Monument

Located adjacent to the Selangor State Secretariat building in Shah Alam, this lovely and serene monument with a sweeping arch, reflecting pools and gold inscriptions is a favourite destination for visitors. The annual Warrior's Day Ceremony (Selangor State level) is held here to honour the memory of those who were sacrificed in the service and defence of the country.

Putra Mosque - Putrajaya

Putrajaya is Malaysia's new, and futuristic, administrative capital containing within it the enthralling, and imposing, structure of Putra Mosque. The mosque, named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj, is located beside Dataran Putra fronting the scenic Putrajaya Lake. Almost wholly surrounded by water, Putra Mosque is well positioned to take in the fresh and cool air from the lake. The mosque also affords a breathtaking view of the lake as well as the Putra Bridge and the Prime Minister's Complex.

Dong Zen Institute of Buddhist Studies

Dong Zen Institute of Buddhist Studies was officially recognised as a tourist spot promoting religious tourism in September 1999. With this official recognition, the institute has embarked on a series of ambitious plans to further develop the monastery into a popular tourist destination to bring in more visitors to the state, in particular to the district of Klang and Kuala Langat. Covering an area of 14 acres, Dong Zen has amongst others, a meditation hall with the shrine of Buddha, statues of other Buddhist deities and stands in beautiful surroundings. The institute plans to build some dormitories and chalets to accommodate devotees and selected public for a night or weekend stay, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Among its other plans are to set up an institute of higher learning for less fortunate students and to allocate about three acres of land for organic farming, a vegetarian cafe as well as an exhibition centre. It was constructed in 1989 and is renowned for its beautiful structures and serene environment. This non-profit organisation not only promotes the Buddhist faith but also puts a lot of emphasis on education and culture, day-to-day living and human relationship.

Batu Caves

The Batu Caves are located in Gombak district and are an ecological wonder. The caves are 15km North of Kuala Lumpur and consist of three main caves and a number of smaller ones. The Temple Cave has a 100m high ceiling, which features elaborate, ornate, Hindu shrines, and can be reached by climbing the 272 steps built specially to scale the steep, jagged face of the limestone outcrop. During the Thaipusam festival, Batu Caves hosts the largest gathering of Hindu devotees in Malaysia. Thaipusam is a religious festival where Hindus pay annual homage to to Lord Muruga. The highlight of this celebration is the kavadi procession and approximately one hundred thousand people throng Batu Caves for this celebration. Batu Caves is located 13 km from Kuala Lumpur's business district.

Orang Asli Museum (Aboriginal Museum)

Located approximately 24km North-East from Kuala Lumpur, this museum provides an insight into the culture of orang asli, the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia. Presently, the orang asli lead a simple and fascinating lifestyle, especially in the rural areas. The museum contains a 600-year old collection of tribal heritage that includes blow pipes, spears, porcelain and ancestral figurines.

Bukit Melawati

Bukit Melawati is located in Kuala Selangor. Besides offering a panoramic view of the Selangor coast and the Klang Valley, this landscaped hill has a rich historical background as seen by the various historical attractions. These include the Altingsburg Lighthouse, the Royal Mausoleum, the ruined Fort Melawati, the legendary 100 steps and a fabled execution-block. This hill has rich historical background, especially its fort that was built by local Malays during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim, the second Sultan of Selangor (1778-1826). The historical background to the fort began with the downfall of the East India Dutch Company after the fourth Dutch-English War (1780-1784). When the Dutch influence became weak, Selangor, backed by Johor and Riau, invaded Malacca, which was also under the Dutch rule, but the raid failed. The Dutch in return then invaded Selangor and conquered Kuala Selangor in July 1784. During the invasion, Fort Melawati collapsed but was reconstructed and renamed Fort Altingsburg, after the Dutch Governor General Alting. On 28 June 1785 Sultan Ibrahim recaptured the fort. From that date, until the British intervention in 1874, this fort has been fought over, and served as a battlefield, in several other wars. Bukit Melawati is now a landscaped hill that offers a panoramic view of the Selangor coastline. Its lush raintrees afford an ideal resting area. Loacted here are also various remnants of ancient folklore such as the Batu Hampar (execution block) which legend has it, was used to execute an innocent virgin girl accused of infidelity.

Carey Island

Located just off the mainland, Carey Island in the Kuala Langat district is well known for its orang asli or indigenous community of the Mah Meri tribe. This tribe is concentrated at the Bumbun River and is famed for its wood carvings. The Mah Meri craftsmen find subjects for their artistic expression through the ancestral spirits they worship. Apart from producing sculpture, the Mah Meri also perform unique traditional dances and music during special occasions.

STATISTICS

Area : 7,955 square km
State Capital : Shah Alam
Royal Town : Klang
Administrative Divisions : 9
Namely:- Gombak, Klang, Kuala Langat, Kuala Selangor, Petaling, Sabak Bernam, Sepang, Ulu Langat and Ulu Selangor

Population

: 3,947,527 (2000)

Breakdown of Races (1995)

:
Malay
Chinese
Indian
Other
:
:
:
:
1,270,170
852,425
426,213
273,792
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