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COMMENT | Who's the real founder of Kuala Lumpur?

HISTORY: TOLD AS IT IS | There are three competing narratives among academics regarding the real founder of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.

According to the first and widely popular narrative, Yap Ah Loy is the founder of Kuala Lumpur.

The second narrative - the “Mandailing narrative” - proposed by author Abdur-Razzaq Lubis is of the view that it is Sutan Puasa, a Mandailing nobleman, who is the real founder of Kuala Lumpur.

The third narrative, often termed as the “ethno-nationalist narrative” or “government-sanctioned history”, claims that Raja Abdullah Raja Jaafar is the founder of Kuala Lumpur by virtue of he having opened up tin mines in Ampang.

Adopting the “ethno-nationalist narrative”, Kuala Lumpur’s current official tourism website states that Kuala Lumpur was founded in 1857 by Raja Abdullah, the district chief of Klang. It claims that he came to Ampang together with 87 Chinese workers in search of tin ore. They “found tin near Ampang” and “That moment marked the beginning of...

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