An extract on #ateskehribar
Early Kuala Lumpur was a small town that suffered from many social and political problems the buildings were made of wood and atap (palm frond thatching) that were prone to fire, lack of proper sanitation plagued the town with diseases, and it suffered from a constant threat of flooding. The town became embroiled in the Selangor Civil War due in part to the fight for control of revenues from the tin mines. The Chinese Kapitan Yap Ah Loy aligned himself with Tengku Kudin, and the rival Chinese gang allied themselves with Raja Mahdi. Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa also switched side to Raja Mahdi, and Kuala Lumpur was captured in 1872 and burnt to the ground. Yap escaped to Klang where he reassembled a fighting force. Kuala Lumpur was recaptured by Yap in March 1873 when Raja Mahdi forces were defeated with the help of fighters from Pahang. The war and other setbacks, such as a drop in tin prices, led to a slump, furthermore a major outbreak of cholera in late 1870s caused many to flee the town. The slump lasted until late 1879, when a rise in the price of tin allowed the town to recover. In late 1881, the town was severely flooded, following a fire that had destroyed the entire town in January that year. That the town was rebuilt a few times and thrived was due in large part to the tenacity and persistence of Yap Ah Loy. Yap, together with Frank Swettenham who was appointed the Resident in 1882, were the two most important figures of early Kuala Lumpur with Swettenham credited with its rapid growth and development and its transformation into a major urban center.
The early Chinese and Malay settlements were along the east bank of the Klang River the Chinese mainly settled around the commercial centre of Market Square; the Malays, later Indian Chettiars and Indian Muslims resided in the Java Street (now Jalan Tun Perak) area. In 1880, the state capital of Selangor was moved from Klang to the more strategically advantageous Kuala Lumpur by the colonial administration, and the British Resident William Bloomfield Douglas then decided that the government buildings and living quarters should be located to the west of the river. Government offices and a new police headquarters was built on Bukit Aman, and the Padang was created initially for police training. The Padang, now known as Merdeka Square, would later become the centre of the British administrative offices when the colonial government offices were moved to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in 1897.
Frank Swettenham, on becoming the British Resident, began improving the town by cleaning up the streets. He also stipulated in 1884 that buildings should be constructed of brick and tile so that they would be less flammable, and that the town be rebuilt with wider streets to reduce fire risk. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy bought a sprawling piece of real estate to set up a brick industry for the rebuilding of Kuala Lumpur; this place is the eponymous Brickfields. Destroyed atap buildings were replaced with brick and tiled ones, and many of the new brick buildings are characterised by the "five foot ways" as well as Chinese carpentry work. This resulted in a distinct eclectic shop house architecture typical to this region. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy expanded road access in the city significantly, linking up tin mines with the city; these roads include the main arterial routes of the present Ampang Road, Pudu Road and Petaling Street. As Chinese Kapitan, he was vested with wide powers on a par with Malay community leaders. Law reforms were implemented and new legal measures introduced to the assembly. Yap also presided over a small claims court. With a police force of six, he was able to uphold the rule of law, constructing a prison that could accommodate 60 prisoners at any time. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy also built Kuala Lumpur's first school and a major tapioca mill in Petaling Street of which the Selangor's Sultan Abdul Samad held an interest.
A railway line between Kuala Lumpur and Klang, initiated by Swettenham and completed in 1886, increased accessibility which resulted in the rapid growth of the town. The population grew from 4,500 in 1884 to 20,000 in 1890. As development intensified in the 1880s, it also put pressure on sanitation, waste disposal and other health issues. A Sanitary Board was created on 14 May 1890 which was responsible for sanitation, upkeep of roads, lighting of street and other functions. This would eventually become the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council. In 1896, Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States.