Kuala Lumpur

“The establishment of Malaya in 1957 which returned the autonomy of to the rulers of Malaya marked the real independence of the Malaya peninsula (except Singapore). Kuala Lumpur being a traditional Chinese mining town with a bit of colonial colour overlaid on it transformed to the capital of the whole Malaya Peninsula. Kuala Lumpur, acting not only as an industrial town but a political and cultural centre of the whole region, underwent significant changes to its urban form as well as demographics. After the joining of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore forming Malaysia in 1963, the Chinese population continued to reduce in percentage since the Malay population moved into Kuala Lumpur working in government sector or security services… The city expanded tremendously and exerted a high pressure to the city, causing underemployment and housing congestion. This buried the fuse of the racial conflict in 1969. However, in long term, shifting from mining town to capital of the nation significantly changed the urban form and the demographics of the whole city.”

– Benjamin Tung, “Independence of Malaya and the establishment of Malaysia,” 2014


Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ Muzium Negara – Development of National Culture

Wai Yin Law

In 1898, Selangor Museum was constructed in Padang Besar by the British employing the architectural style of Queen Anne revival. The style was a derivative of Victorian architecture popular in British and North America. In WWII, Selangor Museum was partially destroyed. After Malaysia declared independence, the government decided to demolish the old museum and build a new Malaysian museum ...

Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ Masjid Negara – Symbol of National Religion and Identity

Wai Yin Law

Like most of the national projects built after Malaysia declared independence, Masjid Negara bears the name Negara or Merdeka, which mean Country and Independence respectively. Before the construction of Masjid Negara (National Mosque), there were already a few mosques in Kuala Lumpur. For instance, the Friday Mosque (Masjid Jamek) was built in the early city center by ...

Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ Malaysia – Independence and Onward: 1957 – Present

Leona Chak

With 1957’s independence, a new series of difficult decisions lay ahead of Malaya, the first of which was to determine exactly what territories would be included in the new state. In 1961, the term “Malaysia” came into being after Tunku convinced Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak to join Malaya in a federal union (Singapore later opted ...

Decolonization (1957-1966)/ Merdeka Park

Leona Chak

  In 1932, 36-acres of land atop Petaling Hill, situated right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur was reserved to be made as ‘People’s Park’ under the Government Gazette No. 9287 dated 30 November, 1932. This is the historical place where the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag was raised for the very first time at ...

Decolonization (1957-1966) / Stadium Merdeka

Leona Chak

The European Colonization of Malaysia started in year 1511, when the Portuguese captured Malacca. The Portuguese were in turn defeated in 1641 by the Dutch, who colonized until the advert of British in 1824. During the World War II, Japanese had colonized Malaysia too in 1941 – 1945. These left many European and Japanese influences ...

Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ University of Malaya

Cheung Wing Mei Carmen

On October 8, 1949, the University of Malaya was founded in a grand ceremony held at the Oei Tiong Ham Hall at Raffles College, Singapore. The university would primarily serve citizens of Malaya, Singapore and Borneo and it was hoped that it will become a great centre of learning, enlightenment, culture and humanity for Southeast ...

Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ Subang Airport

Cheung Wing Mei Carmen

  The airport project in Subang was a vital component in Malaysia’s Second Five Year Plan because it manifested Malaysia’s national and trans-national aspirations. Tunku Abdul Rahman often referred to it as the gateway to malaysia through which the country and its citizens may be better connected to the rest of the world. In the 1930s, the ...

Historical Documents




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