FOUNDING KUALA LUMPUR took place on 21 November 2015, featuring 3 different people talking of the early “Fathers” of modern Kuala Lumpur. 

This talk takes a look at KL and its history-not through textbooks but through the eyes of the community. It is a way of encouraging the sharing of local histories because all these stories contribute to the tapestry of our local culture. 

After all, THIS KUL CITY is a programme by KL’ites for KL’ites. 

The talk began with a street-level tour perspective using beautifully hand-drawn illustrations with two Kaki Jelajah Warisan guides, Novia Shin and Toh Chin Hong. 


The informational graphic strips projected on the walls of BWM’s heritage halls depicted a brief timeline of Yap Ah Loy, also known as “Kapitan Cina”, regarded as one of the city’s founding fathers.


Great-granddaughter of Thamboosamy Pillay, Santa Kumari, presented the second session of the talk. Santa Kumari recounted her family history, revealing pieces of the story known only to her family.


Thamboosamy was recognised for his contribution as founder of the city’s oldest Hindu temple Sri Mahamariamman as well as his reputation as one of Victoria Institution’s original trustees.


Lastly, the last perspective came from Association of Tourism Training Institutes of Malaysia (ATTIM) president Faisal Abd Rahman, who tied together the pieces by introducing the shift in Selangor’s prominence to the building of Kuala Lumpur.


Tales of pirates hiding in mangrove forests and little islands made Selangor a less popular area to set up base compared to Malacca.

Faisal took participants through Sultan Abdul Samad’s era, when Kuala Lumpur was coming into prominence, elaborating on the Selangor Civil War as a catalyst.


A CAPITAL IDEA! FOUNDING KUALA LUMPUR is the second lecture series as part of the THIS KUL CITY programme which features a series of talks, discovery walks and social events to engage different levels of the community in uncovering, exploring and learning about Kuala Lumpur.