Wednesday, September 8, 2010

About Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

Kampung Baru (New Village) took shape in the late 19th century on 114 hectares next to the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur. It was one of the projects by the British administration.

The main objective, says historian Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim, was to provide a place near the town centre where the Malays could live quite cheaply.

In January 12, 1900, the Selangor Resident gazetted the area as a Malay Agricultural Settlement.

The British thought that by building a village, they would be able to induce them to cultivate rice. But the ones who came did not want to cultivate the land. They were mainly traders.

The land was “partly high flat land and partly swamp”. Each occupant held about a quarter of a hectare. The first residents were the peons and messengers employed in government offices. The bullock cart drivers, mainly from Melaka, were followed by Johoreans and Javanese.

The Malays were rowing sampans up and down the Klang River to transport goods for the miners in the interior, who were predominantly Chinese.

That mode of transport died when the railway arrived in 1886. By 1912, buses and lorries came. The first car came in about 1900.

From the initial 196 holdings in 1904, there are today 1,792 lots comprising both Malay Agricultural Settlement and Non-Malay Agricultural Settlement land like the Jalan Dang Wangi and Jalan Chow Kit lots.

(Many thanks, The Star)

Note that Kampung Baru is not the oldest village in Kuala Lumpur. That honour goes to Pantai (which comprises Pantai Dalam, Kampung Kerinci where RTM is, and Kampung Abdullah Hukum where Mid Valley Megamall is).