Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

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Kampung Baru has been turned into a political symbol of Malay culture, after Kampung Baru elders turned away developers, saying that they want to preserve their ethnic Malay lifestyle.
Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

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Location of Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

Kampung Baru is a Malay enclave in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, measuring almost 1 sq km (250 acres). It is, today, one of the most valuable tracts of land in the capital, estimated to be worth up to US$1.4 billion. So far, however, Kampung Baru elders have turned developers away, saying that they want to preserve their ethnic Malay lifestyle. Since then, Kampung Baru has being turned into a political symbol of Malay culture.

In April 2008, the then Federal Territories Minister, Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, unveiled a development agenda for Kampung Baru, taking into account issues such as preserving the Malay image and also land ownership issues.

2.  History: In 1900, the British colonial administrators gazetted Kampung Baru as a Malay Agricultural Settlement in order to allow the Malays to retain their village lifestyle within the city. After World War II, it became a hotbed for pro-independence movements, with anti-colonial protests being held there. The founders of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) also held their early meetings there.

Kampung Baru played a vital part in the May 13 Incident in 1969, where bloody racial clashes occurred between ethnic Malays and Chinese Malaysians. The riots started after Chinese-led opposition parties marched through the village to celebrate their good showing in the general elections that year. Kua Kia Soong, in his book, "May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969", alleged that the riot had been intentionally started by the "ascendent state capitalist class" in UMNO as a coup d'etat to topple the Tunku from power, contrary to the official account which had blamed the violence on opposition parties. His findings were based on the then newly-declassified documents at the Public Records Office in London.

In recent years, Kampung Baru also played a central role in the Reformasi protests of 1998, when former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim launched protests against Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, calling for reforms to government and the judiciary.

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