Breathing New Life into Kuala Lumpur’s Rivers

By Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, Director of the Greater KL/Klang Valley & NKEA

Modified 18 Aug 2014, 4:36 am

Rivers have long been the lifeblood of
civilisation, driving commercial activity and 
population migration. While this may have 
been true of old Kuala Lumpur, in modern 
times the city that was founded on the 
confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers 
has under-utilised its riverside real estate. 
With an aim to revitalise the city, boost economic activity and improve its liveability, the 
River of Life (RoL) project under the Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) Greater 
Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) seeks to restore the 
importance of the Klang and Gombak Rivers to Kuala Lumpur. 
Historically, the two rivers acted as a reliable mode of transportation. During the tin mining 
boom and with Mother Nature on its side, Kuala Lumpur bloomed. Yet we have not fully 
leveraged the waterfront, with developments in the last 30-40 years built facing away from 
the rivers. The RoL project seeks to change that, making the rivers a focal point. This is 
expected to create a number of spillover effects for the economy and boost opportunities 
for the private sector, such as through increased revenue streams from tourism, retail, and 
hotel activities, and generate rental and retail income through mixed-use developments.

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