Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (IATA: KUL, ICAO: WMKK) commonly known as KLIA is one of Asia's major aviation hubs, along with Tokyo's Narita International Airport, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. It is also Malaysia's main international airport. It is situated in the Sepang district, in the south of the state of Selangor, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. KLIA was built at a cost of some US$3.5 billion.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is capable of handling 35 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo a year in its current phase. As of 2007, it was ranked as the 13th busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, and is the 7th busiest international airport in Asia. The complex handled 26,938,970 passengers in 2007, a 13.0% increase over 2005. Also in 2007, Kuala Lumpur International Airport handled 677,446 metric tonnes of cargo, which was a 3.6% increase in volume from 2005. The increase in cargo volume made Kuala Lumpur International Airport one of the busiest airports by cargo traffic, ranking KLIA 30th among all other airports.
The airport is operated by Malaysia Airports (MAHB) Sepang Sdn Bhd and is the airline hub or home base for Malaysia Airlines, MASkargo, AirAsia and AirAsia X. KLIA is also the stopover point on the kangaroo route for Malaysia Airlines.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport serves the Klang Valley Metropolitan Region, Greater Klang Valley, Shah Alam, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and South Perak. With the large catchment area, the airport has become one of the key economic strengths for the nation, where it is well connected via expressways to all parts of Peninsular Malaysia, highly industrialized areas like Shah Alam, and the information and communications technology hub, the Multimedia Super Corridor. It is one of the important components in the economy of Malaysia, as the airport is the main import-export center for the country.
The IATA airport code, KUL was inherited from the previous international gateway for Malaysia, Subang International Airport, which currently handles only turboprop aircraft, general aviation and houses a military air base.
History and design
The decision was controversial. The location, over 51 km from Kuala Lumpur, was viewed as inconvenient; the cost ballooned from original estimates; critics alleged that, contrary to the government's assertions, Subang could still be expanded. Indeed, work on Subang continued simultaneously with KLIA's construction. Subang's new Terminal 3 was opened in December 1993 and Terminal 2 was refurbished in 1995, only three years before KLIA's opening.
With the airport site spanning 100 km2, it is one of the largest airport sites in the world. It is built on a piece of agricultural land and required no demolition of private property. The master plan of Kuala Lumpur International Airport involves constructing five runways, and two terminals accompanied by two satellite terminals for each terminal over three phases. Phase One development includes constructing one main terminal accompanied by one satellite terminal that is enough to accommodate 25 million passengers and dual full service runways. Under the implementation of Phase One, sixty contact piers, twenty remote parking bays with eighty aircraft parking positions, four maintenance hangars and fire stations will be built. Implementation of phase two and three will be expansions of the airport to include increasing number of passengers. Ultimately, the airport will be able to handle 100 million passengers per annum once all three phases are implemented.
With the workforce of 25,000 workers working 24 hours a day, the airport was built within four and half years. The airport was officially inaugurated on June 27, 1998, a week ahead of Hong Kong International Airport, but flights were shifted from Subang only three days later on June 30 in time for the 1998 Commonwealth Games. The first domestic arrival was Malaysia Airlines flight MH1263 from Kuantan (Kuantan Airport) at 7:10 am and first international passenger jet arrival was Malaysia Airlines flight MH188 from Malé (Malé International Airport) at 7:30 am while the first domestic departure was Malaysia Airlines flight MH1432 to Langkawi (Langkawi International Airport) at 7:20 am and first international passenger jet departure was Malaysia Airlines flight MH84 to Beijing (Beijing Capital International Airport) at 9am.
The inauguration of the airport was marked with problems. Aerobridge and bay allocation systems broke down, queues formed throughout the airport, and baggage handling broke down, with lost bags and waits of over five hours. Most of these issues were sorted out eventually, but the baggage handling system continued to be plagued with problems, and it was finally put up for a new complete replacement tender in 2007.
The airport also had to contend with the East Asian financial crisis, SARS and Bird Flu Epidemic (Avian Flu) which decimated passenger traffic in Malaysia and the region. Passenger growth was negative during the financial crisis and airlines that had started flights to KLIA including All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa and Northwest Airlines, terminated their services due to unprofitability. The first phase of the airport was designed with a capacity of 25 million passengers per year but on the first full year of operations in 1999, it saw only 13.2 million. However, traffic did eventually increase with 21.1 million passengers recorded in 2004 and 23.2 million in 2005 — although this, too, fell short of the original estimate of 25 million by the year 2003.
The name Kuala Lumpur International Airport was previously used as an alternative name for the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SZB) in Subang.
Expansion and developments
With the slight modification of the masterplan, the future Terminal 2's satellite terminal will be combined into one satellite terminal. The expansion of Terminal 2's satellite terminal will be exactly the same as Terminal 1's satellite terminal, where initially the satellite terminal will have four arms, and another four arms when the terminal reached its capacity. There is sufficient land and capacity to develop facilities to handle up to 130 million passengers a year, five runways by the year 2020 and two mega-terminals, each linked with satellite terminals. The airport's vicinity will include hiking trails for jet-lagged travelers, golf courses, convention center, a theme park, a shopping center, hotels, and a wetlands nature preserve. Sepang International Circuit, which hosts Formula 1, A1 Grand Prix, Super GT, IndyCar Series and MotoGP races, is also nearby. There has also been a proposal for a monorail link to the F1 circuit. The development plan is due to be ready by April 2008.
In November 2006, the Malaysian government announced that it had approved in principle the construction of a rail link between the main terminal building and the low-cost carrier terminal. Construction was scheduled to begin in 2007. There were however no details of which company would carry out the project, nor was there an indication that it would be directly connected to the existing airport high-speed train Express Rail Link.
The airport operator has announced that the construction works for the extension of LCCT will begin in March 2008 and expected to complete by December 2008. The capacity for the LCCT will increase from 10 million passengers a year to 15 million passengers a year. A proposal for a more permanent building to house a new LCCT has been submitted and expected to have a capacity for 30 million passengers a year. It is also expected that the new LCCT will be completed by 2011 to 2012. It is expected that the current LCCT will be converted in to a cargo hub once the new terminal is completed. The RM124 million LCCT expansion project tender was won by Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd and construction work is expected to begin March 2008. The new international arrival hall was opened on December 15, 2008 with expectation that the rest of the wing will be fully operational by March 2009.
The airport operator has announced that the construction of a permanent LCCT will commence sometime in 2008 although the site has yet to be finalized. It is expected that the permanent LCCT will have a design capacity of 30 to 35 million passengers per annum.
KLIA East @ Labu was a proposed future airport. The airport will be located at Labu, which is 10 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). It is proposed to replace the low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in KLIA for AirAsia flights only. The construction of the new airport, on a 2,800 hectares area at the state’s central corridor in Labu, would be financed by the private sector. The two parties who have agreed to it are AirAsia Group and Sime Darby who owns the land). It had been planned to start construction on January 2009 and will open 2011. Meanwhile, Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), the operators of KLIA, plans to continue ahead with the construction of a new LCC Terminal at KLIA to increase terminal capacity for low cost airlines. After consultation with the government, the government instructed the airport operator to build the terminal at KLIA instead in close consultation with AirAsia.
To accommodate the overwhelming increase in passenger traffic at LCCT, limited service hotel chain Tune Hotels.com announced that it is on track to open a 222-room hotel at the terminal in by the first quarter of 2009.
According to news reports, the MYR 2 billion terminal will be funded by the government as a part of the second economic stimulus package. The new terminal will be located 1.5 km from the current main terminal, will have 70 aircraft parking bays and possibly a third runaway which is located 1.5 km from the second runaway. The new terminal is expected to be 150,000 square meter in size and able to accommodate 30 million passenger with provision to expand to 45 million passenger a year. There is also a possibility to include a rail extension for the Express Rail Link. The construction is expected to begin in mid-2009 and finish in Q3 2011.
The operator of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad, had spent about RM135 million (approx US$39 million) to upgrade facilities at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang to accommodate the Airbus A380. Upgrading works started on April 3, 2006, and was completed by May 28, 2007. Works include the provision of shoulders on both sides of the two existing runways of 15 meters as well as the taxiways, building additional aerobridges at the three departure halls, namely C17, C27 and C37, and enhancing the mezzanine lounges for upper deck passengers of the aircraft at the departure halls.
KLIA features a number of modern design features that assist in efficient operation of the airport.
Main terminal building and contact pier
The contact pier is the rectangular shaped terminal that is connected to the Main Terminal Building which serves as the domestic terminal of KLIA. It is currently the preferred terminal for Malaysia Airlines' domestic flights, however, it no longer caters the low-cost carriers' departing and arriving passengers. At the north side of the pier, it can only accommodate narrow-bodied aircraft. In contrast, the south side of the contact pier can accommodate B737 and B747 or similar sized aircraft.
The Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad derives 65% of its total annual revenue from non-aeronautical sources, with 35% from commercial space rental and a percentage of sale receipts. There were plans to increase and maximize the Main Terminal Building's and Contact Pier's retail area however, the plan was postponed due to Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
The gates in Main Terminal Building's contact pier has alphabet prefix of A, B, G and H.
Satellite terminal A
Within the terminal, wireless internet (Wifi) is provided free of charge. The terminal also has prayer rooms, showers and massage service. Various lounge areas are provided, some including children's play areas and movie lounge, broadcasting movie and sport channels such as Star Movies. The terminal also features a natural rainforest in the middle of the terminal, exhibiting the Malaysian forests.
Under Malaysia Airports Berhad retail optimisation plan, the retail space in satellite terminal A will be further optimized to increase its revenue derived from commercial space rental and a percentage of sale receipts to 50% by year 2010 which currently stands at 35%. Some notable improvements that will be seen after the refurbishments will be the Jungle Boardwalk which will be the first of its kind in the world and larger mezzanine floor to accommodate F&B outlets and viewing galleries.
The gates in Satellite Terminal A have the prefix C. The Satellite A terminal has 27 boarding gates altogether.
Low cost carrier terminal
The 35,290 square-meter terminal is designed and built to suit the low cost carrier (LCC) business model that requires only basic terminal amenities. In order to offer lower landing fees, handling fees and airport taxes, it cuts back on amenities such as aerobridges, elaborate physical structures and decorations in the passenger terminal building. There is no transfer facility at the LCCT. Passengers who need to make transfers need to clear immigration, collect their luggage, clear customs, make their way to the main terminal and re-checkin with the respective airline.
The LCCT is located on the opposite side of the apron from the Main Terminal Building, near the air cargo area. By road, the LCCT is about 20 km from the Main Terminal Building.
However, the current Low Cost Carrier Terminal is a temporary solution for the increasing demand of no-frills airline passengers. Therefore, Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad has incorporated the plans to build a new permanent LCC terminal which can accommodate 30 million passengers per annum. In the mean time, the airport operator decided to expand the current terminal to cope up with the increasing demand. The new arrival hall was first open on December 15, 2008. This airport was the first airport to have separation between normal carriers and low cost carrier.
The gates in LCCT have alphabet prefix of P and T.
Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal
Awards and recognitions
KLIA's commitment to promote environment responsibility for all local and foreign travellers was recognized by Green Globe, which is the first and only airport in the world to receive Green Globe certificate in year 2004 onwards.
Since its inauguration on June 27, 1998, the airport has won awards. With its continuous effort to provide excellent services to passengers, the airport has emerged as one of the top five airports in the world.
In 2007, KLIA was rated the best airport in the world for 15-25 million passengers with Third Best Airport in Asia Pacific and Worldwide for the year of 2006. The award was organised by Airports Council International Airport Service Quality (ACI-ASQ). While in the 2007 Skytrax Airport of the Year awards, it finished fifth behind Hong Kong International Airport, Incheon International Airport, Singapore Changi Airport and Munich Airport. In the 2008 Skytrax Airport of the Year Awards, it moved up a place to fourth in the World's Best Airport for the year 2008.
In 2008, KLIA was honored again with the best airport in the world for 15-25 million passengers category n the Airport Council International's (ACI) Airport Services Quality Awards 2007. KLIA also improved its ranking this year for Best Airport Worldwide and Best Airport Asia Pacific by coming in second behind Seoul's Incheon International Airport, beating Singapore Changi Airport and Hong Kong International Airport which are leaders in service excellence.
Apart from these, Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the first airport in the world to be accredited with Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Assured certificate from Airports Council International (ACI)
Terminals of Kuala Lumpur International Airport are well connected with KLIA Automated People Mover (Aerotrain), a three-car driverless train that runs on elevated rail and under the taxiways, and also bus system.
Main Terminal Building – LCCT
On November 25, 2008, the train manufacturer and airport operator announce a deal to purchase 3 new vehicles plus a spur line to a new Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility worth 45 million euros. The new system is expected to be fully functional by 2011.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport can be reached by the KLIA Express and the KLIA Transit train services. KLIA Express provides a non-stop express train service to the KL City Air Terminal (KL CAT) which has an IATA designation XKL, part of the Kuala Lumpur Sentral transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur. The non-stop trip between Kuala Lumpur and KLIA is 57 kilometers and takes exactly 28 minutes. Passengers departing from KL CAT can check in their luggage for flights on Emirates Airline, Cathay Pacific, Royal Brunei Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Whereas KLIA Transit is a high-speed commuter train service linking Kuala Lumpur Sentral, and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport ERL station. It shares the same tracks as the KLIA Express but with stops at three intermediate stations. Check-in facilities are not available at KLIA Transit stations. Passengers to/from Low Cost Carrier Terminal can reach KLIA ERL station by boarding the Feeder Bus provided.
Taxis and limousine
Airlines and destinations
Passenger and cargo terminals
The initial passenger growth was below average due to Asian Financial Crisis and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome(SARS) epidemic in 2003 and the airport failed to reach its target capacity of 25 million passengers per annum (before the inclusion of low cost carrier terminal) by 2004. However, the recovery of Malaysia's economy boosted Kuala Lumpur International Airport's passenger movements, and the airport saw significant growth in traffic, hitting the 25 million passenger mark in 2007. In January 2008, the airport saw a growth of 8.3% in aircraft movements and 7.7% in passenger traffic to 2.17 million in January 2008 from 2.02 million in the same period last year.
As of January 2008, 57 airlines serve KLIA:
Note:^ Though some Cathay Pacific's flight to/from Hong Kong involve a stop in Kuala Lumpur, passengers cannot purchase tickets to fly Cathay Pacific between Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
Prospective airlines and routes
Note: Airline names that are shown in italics shows that the airline is currently serving Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Accidents and incidents
* In 2001, a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 aircraft suffered nose damage as it entered a monsoon drainage ditch while it was being taxied from the hangar to the gate before a return flight to Saudi Arabia. None of the six crew members on board at the time were injured.
* July 14,2007 - An aerobridge suddenly shifted downwards, damaging the door of a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 bound for Beijing. The aerobridge was not occupied at the time, and no passengers or crew were injured.
* October 15, 2007 - A Palestinian national managed to hide in the landing nose gear of flight SQ119, flight from KLIA to Changi Airport, Singapore. He was discovered in Singapore as he fell 2.4 meters from nose wheel after the plane landed. Despite the cold thin air during flight, the man survived the trip but was apprehended in Singapore. KLIA authorities has yet to find the cause of the security breach.
* April 9, 2008 - Armed robbers shot six people in a three minute heist and walked away with RM 3.5 million in cash. The incident happened at 7.30 pm at Door 8 while two moneychangers and two security guards were walking towards the gate and were ambushed by six men from a BMW vehicle. Victims were seriously injured but in stable condition.
* January 9, 2009 - A small fire broke out in the LCC terminal which cause the terminal to be shut down for two hours and delaying 20 flights. The fire was caused by a welding spark in the construction area of the LCC Terminal.
Kuala Lumpur often abbreviated as K.L., is the largest city of Malaysia. The city proper, making up an area of 244 km2 (94 sq mi), has an estimated population of 1.6 million in 2006. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million. It is the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country, in terms of population as well as economy.
Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia.Kuala Lumpur is also the 11th largest city in the world. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they have since moved to Putrajaya starting in 1999. Some sections of the judiciary remain in the capital. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur. The city is also the cultural and economic centre of Malaysia due to its position as the capital as well as being a primate city. Kuala Lumpur is rated as a gamma world city, and is the only global city in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur is defined within the borders of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and is one of three Malaysian Federal Territories. It is an enclave within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Residents of the city are known as KLites.
Beginning in the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Formula One World Championship. In addition, Kuala Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers.
These mines became a trading post and was considered a frontier town with many problems including the Selangor Civil War; it was also plagued by diseases and constant fires and floods. Around the 1870s, the Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy, emerged as leader, and became responsible for the survival and subsequent systematic growth of this town.He is the one who began to develop Kuala Lumpur from a small unknown place into a mining town with economic boom. In 1880, the state capital of Selangor was moved from Klang to the more strategically advantageous Kuala Lumpur.
In 1881, a flood swept through the town following a fire which engulfed it earlier. These successive problems destroyed the town's structures of wood and atap (thatching). As a response, Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor, required that buildings be constructed of brick and tile. Many of the new brick buildings mirrored that of shop houses in southern China, with 'five foot ways' as well as skilled Chinese carpentry. This resulted in a distinct eclectic shop house architecture typical to this region. A railway line increased accessibility into this town. Development intensified in the 1890s, leading to the creation of a Sanitary Board. In 1896, Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States.
A mixture of different communities settled in various sections of Kuala Lumpur. The Chinese mainly settled around the commercial centre of Market Square, east of Klang River, and towards Chinatown. The Malays, Indian Chettiars, and Indian Muslims resided along Java Street (now Jalan Tun Perak). The Padang, now known as Merdeka Square, was the center of the British administrative offices.
During World War II, Kuala Lumpur was captured by the Japanese army on January 11, 1942. They remained in occupation until August 15, 1945, when the commander in chief of the Japanese Seventh Area Army in Singapore and Malaya, Seishirō Itagaki, surrendered to the British administration following the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kuala Lumpur grew through the war, the rubber and tin commodity crashes and the Malayan Emergency, during which Malaya was preoccupied with the communist insurgency. In 1957, the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from British rule. Kuala Lumpur remained the capital through the formation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963.
On May 13, 1969, one of the worst race riots in Malaysia took place in Kuala Lumpur. The May 13 Incident was a riot between the Malays and the Chinese who were dissatisfied with the socio-political situation at the time. The riot resulted in the deaths of 196 people, and led to a major reform in the country's economic policy.
Kuala Lumpur later achieved city status in 1972, becoming the first settlement in Malaysia to be granted the status after independence. Later, on February 1, 1974, Kuala Lumpur became a Federal Territory. Kuala Lumpur ceased to be the capital of Selangor in 1978 after the city of Shah Alam was declared as the new state capital.
In 1998, another political movement known as Reformasi took place mainly in this city. The movement was a result of the sacking of former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and resulted in a chain of protests until 1999, where supporters of Anwar Ibrahim took to the streets to demand reforms in the government's administration, among others.
On February 1, 2001, Putrajaya was declared a Federal Territory, as well as the seat of the federal government. The administrative and judicial functions of the government were shifted from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. Kuala Lumpur however still retained its legislative function, and remained the home of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King).
Located in the center of Selangor state, Kuala Lumpur was previously under the rule of Selangor State Government. In 1974, Kuala Lumpur was separated from Selangor to form the first Federal Territory governed directly by the Malaysian Federal Government. Its location on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, which has wider flat land than the east coast, has contributed to its faster development relative to other cities in Malaysia.
The municipality of the city covers an area of 243.65 km2 (94.07 sq mi), with an average elevation of 21.95 m (72 ft).
Climate and weather
Flooding is a frequent occurrence in Kuala Lumpur whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the city centre and downstream areas. Dust particles from forest fires from nearby Sumatra sometimes cast a haze over the region. It is a major source of pollution in the city together with open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction work.
Kuala Lumpur also has a mix of different cultures which include Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, as well as Kadazans, Ibans and other indigenous races from East Malaysia and Peninsula Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur's rapid development, triggered huge influx of foreign workers from Indonesia, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China into Malaysia.
In the late-18th century, when Europe underwent Industrial Revolution, large groups of Chinese from Fujian and Guangdong in China were brought in to Malaya to work in the booming tin mining industry. The Chinese in Kuala Lumpur speak different dialects but the majority in Kuala Lumpur are of Cantonese descent, followed by the Hokkiens and the Hakkas.
Indians form 10% of the population in Kuala Lumpur (as in 2000), mostly practise Hinduism and speak Tamil and other Indian and Pakistani languages such as Hindi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Telugu and Pashtu. Historically, most of the Indians were brought in during the British colonisation of the Malaysia. Their popular festivals are Thaipusam, Deepavali and Pongal.
Islam is practised primarily by the Malays and the Indian Muslim communities. Other major religions are Hinduism (among Indians), Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism (mainly among Chinese) and Christianity. The city has many places of worship catering to the multi-religious population.
Based on the census of the Department of Statistics (see http://www.statistics.gov.my/eng/), the percentage of Bumiputera population in Kuala Lumpur alone was around 38% in 2000 (next census is in 2010) while the Chinese population comprised 43% and Indians 10%. A notable phenomenon has been the increase in the presence of foreign residents in Kuala Lumpur, who now constitute about 9% of the city’s population.
Crime in Kuala Lumpur has been a concern of residents in recent years. Among the crimes showing increasing rates were snatch theft, drug addiction, gambling and vice. These problems have been associated with the rising numbers of immigrants from Indonesia and Myanmar. Some of them are brought in with the promise of low to medium grade salary.
Since Kuala Lumpur became a Federal Territory of Malaysia on February 1, 1974, the city has been led by nine mayors. The current mayor of Kuala Lumpur is Dato' Ahmad Fuad Ismail, who is in his first term of office. He was appointed in 2008.
The city remains as the economic and business center of the country. In fact, the city is a center for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts of Malaysia. The infrastructure development in the surrounding areas such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, the creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor and the expansion of Port Klang further reinforce the economic significance of the city.
Bursa Malaysia or the Malaysia Exchange is based in the city and forms one of its core economic activities. As of 20 November, 2007, the market capitalisation stood at US$318.65 billion.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Kuala Lumpur is estimated at RM25,968 million in 2000 with an average annual growth rate of 4.2 percent. The per capita GDP for Kuala Lumpur in year 2000 is RM30,727, an average annual growth rate of 6.1 percent. The total employment in Kuala Lumpur is estimated at around 838,400. The service sector comprising finance, insurance, real estate, business services, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, transport, storage and communication, utilities, personal services and government services form the largest component of employment representing about 83.0 percent of the total. The remaining 17 percent comes from manufacturing and construction.
The large service sector is evident in the number of local and foreign banks and insurance companies operating in the city. Kuala Lumpur is poised to become the global Islamic Financing hub with an increasing number of financial institutions providing Islamic Financing and the strong presence of Gulf's financial institutions such as the world's largest Islamic bank, Al-Rajhi Bank and Kuwait Finance House. Apart from that, the Dow Jones & Company is keen to work with Bursa Malaysia to set up Islamic Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs), which would help raise Malaysia's profile in the Gulf. The city has a large number of foreign corporations and is also host to many multi national companies’ regional offices or support centres, particularly for finance and accounting, and information technology functions. Most of the countries’ largest companies have their headquarters based here and as of December 2007 and excluding Petronas, there are 14 companies that are listed in Forbes 2000 based in Kuala Lumpur.
Other important economic activities in the city are education and health services. Kuala Lumpur also has advantages stemming from the high concentration of educational institutions located within its boundaries, providing a wide range of courses. Such public institutions include the International Islamic University Malaysia,University of Malaya, the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, International Medical University and the Medical Faculty of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. There are also a large number of private colleges, including the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak and Tunku Abdul Rahman College, in and around Kuala Lumpur providing a wide range of courses which attract students from all over Malaysia as well as from other countries. There are numerous public and private medical specialist centres and hospitals in the city which offer general health services and a wide range of specialist surgery and treatment catering to locals and tourists.
There has been growing emphasis to expand the economic scope of the city into other service activities such as research and development which supports the rest of the economy of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur has been home for years to important research centers such as the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and the Institute of Medical Research and more research centers are expected to be established in the coming years.
Major destinations include the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, KLCC,House of Parliament, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Putra World Trade Centre, Dataran Merdeka, Tugu Negara, Istana Negara, Istana Budaya, mosques such as the Masjid Jamek, Masjid Negara and the Federal Territory Mosque, Muzium Negara, and other tourist attractions including Aquaria KLCC, Batu Caves, Makam Pahlawan, National Science Centre, Zoo Negara, and events such as Malay cultural centres, the Chinese cultural festivals at the Thean Hou Temple and the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. The Golden Triangle, the commercial hub of the city, contains the Petronas Twin Towers and has a distinctive nightlife. Trendy nightclubs, bars and lounges, such as Hakka Republic Wine bar & Restaurant,Hard Rock Cafe, Zouk, Thai Club, Beach Club (voted Best Bar in Asia), Luna Bar, Rum Jungle, Nuovo, Espanda and many others are located within and around Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang. If it's Italian you're after Nerovivo (Jalan Ceylon), Neroteca (Lorong Ceylon) or Nerofico (Jalan Dungun) are the best in town.
Hotels, from five-star to budget types, have cropped up everywhere to accommodate the influx of tourists each year. While there are many hotels near Kuala Lumpur's entertainment and business districts, some have chosen to veer away from the hustle and bustle.
Apart from shopping complexes, Kuala Lumpur has designated numerous zones in the city to market locally manufactured products such as textiles, fabrics and handicrafts. The Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur, or commonly known as Petaling Street, is one of them. Chinatown features many pre-independence buildings with Straits Chinese and European traditions influence. The Kuala Lumpur's Central Market, which was once the city's wet market, offers an assortment of arts and craft merchandise, varying from antiques and paintings to souvenirs and clothing. It is also known as Pasar Seni in Malay.
Since 2000, the Ministry of Tourism of Malaysia has kick-started the mega sale event for all shopping in Malaysia. The mega sale event is held thrice in a year—in March, May and December—where all shopping malls are encouraged to participate to boost Kuala Lumpur as a leading shopping destination.
Prior to the Second World War, many shophouses, usually two storeys with functional shops on the ground floor and separate residential spaces upstairs, were built around the old city centre. These shop-houses drew inspiration from Straits Chinese and European traditions. Some of these shophouses have made way for new developments but there are still many standing today around Medan Pasar (Old Market Square), Chinatown, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Doraisamy, Bukit Bintang and Tengkat Tong Shin areas.
Independence coupled with the rapid economic growth from the 1970s to the 1990s and with Islam being the official religion in the country, has resulted in the construction of buildings with a more local and Islamic flavour arise around the city. Many of these buildings derive their design from traditional Malay items such as the songkok and the keris. Some of these buildings have Islamic geometric motifs integrated with the designs of the building, signifying Islamic restriction on imitating nature through drawings. Examples of these buildings are Menara Telekom, Menara Maybank, Dayabumi Complex, and the Islamic Center. Some buildings such as the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and National Planetarium have been built to masquerade as a place of worship, complete with dome and minaret, when in fact it is a place of science and knowledge. The 452-metre (1,480 ft) tall Petronas Twin Towers were designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art.
Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the late-1990s and early-2000s. With the economic development, old buildings such as Bok House have been razed to make way for new ones. Buildings with all glass shell appears around the city, with the most prominent example being the Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Kuala Lumpur’s central business district today has shifted around the Kuala Lumpur city centre (KLCC) where many new and tall buildings with modern and postmodern architecture fill the skyline.
There are three forest reserves within the city namely the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve in the city centre, the oldest gazetted forest reserve in the country (10.52 ha/26.0 acres, Bukit Sungai Putih Forest Reserve (7.41 ha/18.3 acres) and Bukit Sungai Besi Forest Reserve (42.11 ha/104.1 acres). Bukit Nanas, in the heart of the city centre, is one of the oldest virgin forests in the world within a city. These residual forest areas are home to a number of fauna species particularly monkeys, tree shrews, squirrels and birds.
Kuala Lumpur also has an Islamic Arts Museum which houses more than seven thousand Islamic artefacts including rare exhibits from China as well as a library of Islamic art books. This museum features some impressively decorated domes and large open exhibition spaces. It is located at Jalan Lembah Perdana next to the National Mosque.
The premier performing arts venue is the Petronas Philharmonic Hall. The resident orchestra is the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), consisting of musicians from all over the world and features regular concerts, chamber concerts and traditional cultural performances.
The National Art Gallery of Malaysia is located on Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak on a 5.67-hectare (14.0-acre) site neighbouring the National Theater (Istana Budaya) and National Library. The architecture of the gallery incorporates elements of traditional Malay architecture, as well as contemporary modern architecture. The National Art Gallery serves as a centre of excellence and trustee of the national art heritage.
The Petronas Art Gallery, another centre for fine art, is situated in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). The Galeri Tangsi near Dataran Merdeka houses exhibitions of works by local and foreign artists.
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) in Sentul West is one of the most established centres for the performing arts, notably theatre, music, and film screening, in the country. It has housed many local productions and has been a supporter of local and regional independent performance artists. One of the highlights in 2006 was the KL Sing Song 2006 music fest which featured Malaysian singer-songwriters of various cultural backgrounds, from both West and East Malaysia, through two days of performances and workshops.
Kuala Lumpur holds the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival annually Another event hosted annually by the city is the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, which includes international brands as well as local designers.
Kuala Lumpur has numerous parks and open spaces for recreational purposes. Total open space for recreational and sport facilities land use in the city has increased significantly by 169.6 percent from 586 hectares (1,450 acres) in 1984 to 1,580 hectares (3,900 acres) in 2000.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the host cities for the Formula One World Championship, the open-wheel auto racing A1 Grand Prix and the Motorcycle Grand Prix with races being held at Sepang International Circuit in the neighbouring state of Selangor, next to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The Formula One event contributes significantly to tourist arrivals and tourism income to Kuala Lumpur. This is evident during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998. Despite cities around Asia suffering declining tourist arrivals, Kuala Lumpur tourist arrivals increased from 6,210,900 in 1997 to 10,221,600 in 2000, or 64.6% increase in tourist arrivals.
Other annual sport events hosted by the city include the KL Tower Run, the KL Tower International BASE Jump Merdeka Circuit and the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon. Kuala Lumpur is also one of the stages of the Tour de Langkawi cycling race.
Kuala Lumpur has a considerable array of sports facilities of international class after hosting the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Many of these facilities including the main stadium (with running track and a football field), hockey stadium and swimming pools are located in the National Sports Complex at Bukit Jalil while a velodrome and more swimming pools are located in Bandar Tun Razak, next to the Taman Tasik Permaisuri Lake Gardens. There are also soccer fields, local sports complexes, swimming pools and tennis courts scattered around the suburbs. Badminton and ‘takraw’ courts are usually included in community halls.
Kuala Lumpur has several golf courses including the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) and the Malaysia Civil Service Golf Club in Kiara and the Berjaya Golf Course at Bukit Jalil.
The city also has numerous large private fitness centers run by California Fitness, Fitness First, Celebrity Gym, True Fitness and the major five star hotels.
The city is also home to the country's main pay-TV service, Astro, a satellite television service, which broadcasts local and global television channels such as CNN, BBC World, Star World and HBO. Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based Arab news network has launched a new English-speaking channel called Al-Jazeera English to boost its international viewership with one of its broadcast centers based in Kuala Lumpur. Phoenix TV, a Hong Kong based television broadcaster has also announced plans to expand its regional business by partnership with local satellite TV provider, Astro. The Hong Kong office of Channel V International, an international music channel, relocated its programme production unit in Kuala Lumpur by appointing the local company Double Vision Sdn Bhd. In March 2008, Time Out, the international listings and events magazine, launched in Kuala Lumpur as its 24th global city.
Kuala Lumpur has been featured in all aspects of popular culture such as movies, television, music and books. Movies set in Kuala Lumpur include Entrapment, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Children of Men, (starring Clive Owen) where the Petronas Twin Towers were depicted in flames for a few seconds. Books which were set in Kuala Lumpur include KL 24/7 by Ida M Rahim, Shireen Zainudin and Rizal Zainudin and Democracy by Joan Didion. Kuala Lumpur is also mentioned in many songs by local Malaysian artists such as Keroncong Kuala Lumpur by P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, Ibu Kota by Saloma, Chow Kit Road by Sudirman Arshad, Senyumlah Kuala Lumpur by Alleycats, Streets of Kuala Lumpur by Murkyway, K.L. by Vandal, Kuala Lumpur by Poetic Ammo, Anak Dara by Azmyl Yunor and KL by Too Phat. Kuala Lumpur was also one of the destinations in The Amazing Race Asia and The Amazing Race. Games have also been set in Kuala Lumpur. They include three levels of the game Hitman 2: Silent
In terms of air connectivity, Kuala Lumpur is served by two airports. The main airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which is also the aviation hub of Malaysia, is located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of city. The other airport is Subang Airport which used to be the main international airport serving the city until KLIA replaced it when it opened in 1998. The airport connects the city with direct flights to destinations in six continents around the world, and is the main hub for the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines. KLIA can be reached using the KLIA Ekspres high-speed train service from KL Sentral which takes only twenty-eight minutes, while travelling by car via highway will take about an hour. As of 2007, Subang Airport is only used for chartered and turboprops flights by airlines such as Firefly and Berjaya Air.
Public transport on Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the Klang Valley covers a variety of transport modes such as bus, rail and taxi. Despite efforts to promote usage of public transportation, utilisation rates are low as only 16 percent of the population used public transportation in 2006. The rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur consists of three separate rail systems which meet in the city and extends towards other parts of Klang Valley. The rail systems are RapidKL RAIL, KL Monorail, and KTM Komuter. These lines have either underground or elevated stations around the city. The main rapid transit hub is KL Sentral which facilitates as an interchange station for the rail systems. KL Sentral is also a hub for intercity railway operated by KTM Intercity. It provides rail services to as far as Singapore in the south, and Hat Yai, Thailand, in the north.
The largest public transportation operator in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley is RapidKL. Since the take over from Intrakota Komposit Sdn Bhd, RapidKL has redrawn the entire bus network of Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley metropolitan area to increase ridership and improve Kuala Lumpur's public transportation system. The management of RapidKL has adopted the hub and spoke system to provide greater connectivity, and cut down the need of more buses. RapidKL is also the operator of three rapid transit rail lines in Kuala Lumpur, namely Ampang Line, Sri Petaling Line and Kelana Jaya Line.
Kuala Lumpur is served by Port Klang, located about 64 km (40 mi) southwest of the city. The port is the largest and busiest in the country handling about 6.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo in 2006.
In Kuala Lumpur alone, there are 13 tertiary education institutions, 79 high schools, 155 elementary schools and 136 kindergartens.
There are several notable institutions located in the city which have existed for more than 100 years, such as, Victoria Institution (1893); Methodist Girls' School, Kuala Lumpur (1896); Methodist Boys' School (1897); Convent Bukit Nanas (1899) and St. John's Institution (1904);
Kuala Lumpur is home to the University of Malaya. Established in 1962, it is the oldest university in Malaysia, and one of the oldest in the region. It is also the most prestigious tertiary institution in Malaysia, having been ranked first among the universities in Malaysia in the 2004 THES international rankings. In recent years, the number of international students at University of Malaya has risen, a result of increasing efforts made to attract more international students.
Other universities located in Kuala Lumpur include International Medical University, Open University Malaysia, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Wawasan Open University and the branch campus of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Apart from these, universities located around Kuala Lumpur include Monash University Malaysia Campus, Taylor's University College, HELP University College and others.
The National Defence University of Malaysia is located at Sungai Besi Army Base, at the southern part of central Kuala Lumpur. It was established to be a major centre for military and defence technology studies. This institution covers studies in the field of army, navy, and air force.
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