Selangor – state of Malaysia

Selangor (/səˈlæŋə/; Malay: [s(ə)laŋo(r)]), also known by its Arabic honorific Darul Ehsan, or “Abode of Sincerity”, is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west. Selangor surrounds the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, both of which were previously part of it.

The state capital of Selangor is Shah Alam and its royal capital is Klang. Petaling Jaya, was awarded city status in 2006. Selangor is one of three Malaysian states that contain more than one city; the others are Sarawak and Johor.

The state of Selangor has the largest economy in Malaysia in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), with RM 239.968 billion (roughly USD 55.5 billion) in 2015, comprising 22.6% of the country’s GDP. It is the most developed state in Malaysia; it has good infrastructure such as highways and transport, and has the largest population in Malaysia, a high standard of living and the lowest poverty rate in the country.

History

Tho most important settlement in ancient Selangor may have been Klang. Ancient artefacts including Bronze Age axes and bronze bell dating from the 2nd century BC, and iron tools called “tulang mawas” (“ape bones”) have been found in or near Klang. The Mao Kun map dating to the Ming dynasty and used by the Admiral Zheng He during his voyages of expedition between 1405 and 1433 refers to places in Selangor such as the Klang River estuary (吉令港) and perhaps a hilly area in Selangor (吉那大山). The Malay Annals indicate the Selangor area was under the control of the Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century; however, Selangor at that time was not a unified domain—separate river states such as Klang and Jeram existed in the region. According to the Malay Annals, Tun Perak was appointed the chief of Klang during the reign of Muzaffar Shah. Later, the son of Mansur Shah and Hang Li Po named Paduka Sri Cina was made raja of Jeram near Langat, which may be due to presence of Chinese miners there.

After the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511, the area came under the control of Johor Sultanate and was later governed by Sri Agar Diraja, son of the Bendahara family of Johor. In the 17th century, Johor was involved in a war against Jambi, and the Sultan of Johor engaged the help of Bugis mercenaries from Sulawesi to fight against Jambi. After Johor won in 1679, the Bugis decided to stay and started to gain power in the region. The Bugis began to migrate and settled in the then-largely uninhabited interior of Selangor. The Bugis and the Minangkabaus from Sumatra struggled for control of Johor; Raja Kecil, backed by the Minangkabaus, invaded Selangor but were driven off by the Bugis in 1742. To establish a power base, the Bugis led by Raja Salehuddin founded the present hereditary Selangor Sultanate. Selangor is unique as the only state on the Malay Peninsula that was founded by the Bugis. In some places, the Bugis displaced earlier Minangkabau settlers.

 The Kota Darul Ehsan arch over the Federal Highway, which was built to commemorate the cession of Kuala Lumpur by Selangor to the federal government to form a Federal Territory.

In the 19th century, the economy boomed due to the exploitation of huge tin reserves; mining occurred in various parts of Selangor, for example in Ampang, that led to the growth of Kuala Lumpur. In 1854, the Sultan of Selangor granted Raja Abdullah control of Klang, passing over Raja Mahdi, the son of the chief who previously ruled Klang, leading to the Selangor Civil War of 1867 to 1874, which was partly a struggle for control of the revenues from tin. Tin mining also attracted a large influx of Chinese migrant labourers. Chinese clans allied with Selangor chiefs joined the civil war. The conflicts between Malay and Chinese factions in Perak and Selangor, as well as concerns over piracy that affected coastal trade, led to increasing British involvement in the affairs of the Malay states. In 1874, Sultan Adbul Samad of Selangor accepted a British Resident in a system that allowed the British to govern while the Sultan remained the apparent ruler. Under the stability imposed by the British, Selangor again prospered. In 1896, largely through the coordination of the Resident Frank Swettenham, Selangor united with Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Pahang to form the Federated Malay States, with Kuala Lumpur as its capital.

The Federated Malay States evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948, which became independent in 1957 and was renamed Malaysia in 1963. The city of Kuala Lumpur functioned as the national capital of Malaysia and as the state capital of Selangor. In 1974, Selangor relinquished Kuala Lumpur to the federal government. The Sultan of Selangor commemorated the city’s transfer by building an archway on the borders of the new Federal Territory and Selangor; this archway is the Kota Darul Ehsan that straddles a section of the Federal Highway between Bangsar and Petaling Jaya. The state capital was moved to Shah Alam after the cession.

Putrajaya, a new city designed to be the new administrative capital of Malaysia, was built by the federal government in Selangor; Sultan Salahuddin was asked again to cede land to the federal government. Putrajaya became a federal territory in 2001.

 

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Dato' is a traditional Malay honorific title commonly used in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Its variant is Datuk.

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