Kuala Kubu Bharu
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Kuala Kubu Bharu (alternately known as Kuala Kubu Baru, Kuala Kubu Bahru or Kuala Kubu Baharu; commonly referred to as KKB), is a town in Hulu Selangor district, Selangor, Malaysia. It was built after the town of Kuala Kubu was destroyed in a flood in 1883. Kuala Kubu Bharu is located on top of a hill. It is the district capital of Hulu Selangor.
Kuala Kubu Bharu which was formerly known as the Kuala Kubu placed in Administrative Resident, the first British Resident of President Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham, followed by JP Rodger and Edward Maxwell. At that time, Kuala Kubu is a gateway to the state of Pahang. Due to major floods, the British moved their administrative centre in Kuala Kubu Bharu on May 6, 1931.
Kuala Kubu Baru, or KKB as it is fondly known, is often thought of by travellers as a sleepy town in Selangor, but a deeper look into its origins reveals a history that is both enriching and charming.
It is located approximately 70 km from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and is a popular rest area for people heading to one of Malaysia’s favourite hill stations, Fraser’s Hill, which is a 45-minute drive away from KKB.
KKB began as a mining town in the 18th century, originally located between two tributaries of the Selangor River. In its heyday, it was the second biggest town in Selangor. It also served as a fort for Raja Mahadi and Syed Mashor when they fought against Tengku Kudin’s army during the Selangor civil war from 1867 to 1874. A fortress (kubu in the Malay language) was constructed in the area before the British colonial powers took over the town.
However, tragedy struck in 1883 when a heavy downpour caused the Kuala Kubu dam to burst open and flood the town, affecting its tin mining activities and killing 33 people, including the then District Officer Sir Cecil Ranking. Thirty-eight homes were also destroyed.
Ranking had supposedly shot a white crocodile which was regarded as the river guardian despite being told not to do so. According to local beliefs, his act had caused the calamity to occur and all that was left of him was his hand. Ranking’s hand was interred in a grave at the Kuala Kubu Rest House. Since then, the old town has been known as Ampang Pecah (Broken Dam), and locals termed the flooding as the Kuala Kubu Tragedy.
After the incident, the British government established a new town, calling it Kuala Kubu Baru (“baru” meaning new in the Malay language) in an area close by.
Another tragedy struck in 1951 when Sir Henry Gurney, the then British High Commissioner to Malaya, was assassinated by communist insurgents who ambushed his Rolls Royce along the Jalan Kuala Kubu Baru-Fraser’s Hill road.
In 1975, the establishment of the Hulu Selangor Municipality Council or Majlis Perbandaran Hulu Selangor (MPHS) 1 January 2014 vrwith the responsibility to administer and make changes in the custody especially Kuala Kubu Bharu. Many changes and modifications have been made from time to time for the comfort and convenience of the residents. The town of Kuala Kubu Bharu, formerly quiet town has now turned into a vibrant patterns, lovely clean and cool landscapes cutting over the eye could see. On January 15, 1994, the Administrative Office of Hulu Selangor District Council, formerly located in the former Old Market in Kuala Kubu Bharu town has turned to the more spacious and comfortable. The office is located at Jalan Bukit Kerajaan has officiated by Tan Sri Haji Muhammad Haji Taib, the Menteri Besar of Selangor at that time.
The Kuala Kubu Town Tragedy (1883)
Previously, there was a town called Kuala Kubu nearby. In February 1883 the Kuala Kubu town was destroyed by a great flood caused by a broken dam near the town. Many of civilians were drowned and lost their home. 33 people were killed including a district officer of Kuala Kubu during British era, Sir Cecil Ranking. However, the old town was severely flooded and most of the old town's facilities were damaged beyond repair. A Buddhist temple and a mosque survived the flood. The old town has since been known as Ampang Pechah, or Broken Dam in the Malay language. The tragedy was probably known as Tragedi Kuala Kubu by local civilians.
After the tragedy, the British colonial Federated Malay States (FMS) government decided to build a new town near the remains of Kuala Kubu. The new town was named Kuala Kubu Bharu, with Bharu meaning "new" in the Malay language. The planning of this new site was undertaken by Charles Reade, the government town planner of the FMS in 1925 along the garden city ideas: with compact town centre encircled by a parkbelt; entrance to the centre were approached by two access designed in an angular fashion to provide visually attractive vista to the town upon approaching the centre. This new town growth was hastened after 1931 after another major flood at the old town site. Reade's planning ideas of KKB along garden city lines has been recognized and the town had lately been gazetted as a garden city, first of its kind in the country. Given this status much conservation work needs to be undertaken to retain as much as possible its original layout, ideas and history behind KKB illustrious past.
Residential houses have been developed since the 1980s in the previously abandoned old town, or Ampang Pecah. Most inhabitants are from the nearby new town of Kuala Kubu Bharu. The redevelopment of Ampang Pechah, the site of the old town, was a natural progression on the organic growth of the new township of Kuala Kubu Bharu. A monument was built here to commemorate the Kuala Kubu tragedy.
Ampang Pechah is the original site of the Kuala Kubu located not far from Kuala Kubu Bharu new town.
KKB has retained most of its charm with traditional and quaint shophouses, a 1930s clock tower and an old fire station. A Buddhist temple that survived the flood was refurbished in the 1980s, and is also another attraction, while Cecil Ranking’s grave might be a stop for those interested in KKB’s history. A monument was also built in the town to commemorate the KKB flood.
Colonial shophouses still make up most of KKB’s architectural landscape, spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, which makes it ideal for pleasant walking tours. Its grid-like streets are made up of sundry shops, eateries, a traditional barber and even a former cinema, converted into an entertainment centre. Visitors can also enjoy the cool weather as KKB is surrounded by lush trees and tropical jungle. Cyclist enthusiasts can be seen especially during the weekend wondering the KKB environment and finally taking a break/rest at the mamak corner shop in the town.
Typical tourist attractions that can be explored in KKB include an art gallery and the old railway station. There are a few budget hotels, a golf course, bus terminal and train station but not much else exists in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
The town is hardly what you call hectic, but there is a fair amount of activity that goes on. Locals go about their daily routine and there are plenty of restaurants to sample local Malaysian food. One place to enjoy home-styled Hainanese cooking in a traditional shophouse is Sun Sun Seng Nam. The old Malaya style restaurant still maintains its old fixtures and signages, and customers can choose to sit in the traditional wooden booths to enjoy famous Hainanese dishes. Another spot to please the hungry traveller is Teng Wun bakery, famous for its kaya puffs and cupcakes
KKB has been a choice retreat for the renowned Malaysian writer, Rehman Rashid, who completed his celebrated book, 'A Malaysian Journey'; he also devoted KKB in its Epilogue (August 31, 1992). KKB too, is also referred to in a song by the celebrated Malaysian singer, Sudirman Arshad, JOGET KENANGAN MANIS, where he suggested Kalau Pergi Kuala Kubu Tulis Nama Atas Batu. (translate: If you go to/visit Kuala Kubu write your name on the rock/stone).
Some of the famous attractions in KKB, among others are:-
- Buddhist Temple of the old town, which survived the 1883 flood and was refurnished in 1980s.
- Kuala Kubu Bharu town centre
- Kuala Kubu Road old railway station
- Monument of Kuala Kubu Tragedy
- Site of old town
- Sir Cecil Ranking's grave near Kuala Kubu Rest House
- Broken Dam (Ampang Pecah)
- Chiling waterfalls, 50 meters tall.
- Sungai Selangor Dam (Sungai = River)
- the site of Sir Henry Gurney's murder at Jalan Kuala Kubu Bharu-Raub (Federal Route )
- New Dam built in Kampung Pertak (15-minutes drive from the town). The highest Dam in Malaysia.
- Golf course
- Hulu Selangor District and Land Office
- Hulu Selangor District Police Headquarters
- Government office at Bukit Kerajaan
- Al-Rahimah District Mosque
- Perpustakaan Syed Masahor (Hulu Selangor District Library)
- Kuala Kubu Bharu post office
- Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor (MDHS) headquarters
- Stadium Mini Kuala Kubu Bharu
- Hospital Kuala Kubu Bharu
KKB is easily accessible by public transport from Kuala Lumpur. KTM Komuter’s northern run from the city reaches KA14 Kuala Kubu Bharu railway station, which is stationed just north of downtown KKB. From Kuala Lumpur, one must alight at Rawang station to switch trains (Platform 2 for trains to KKB). Alternatively, hop on to one of the buses heading towards Tanjung Malim from Rawang, and get off in KKB.
As at 2013, the taxi rides are about RM5 for the 3 km journey into KKB.
Route 55 sometimes serves as an alternative gateway to the Karak Highway as the gateway to East Coast states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan for Selangor/Klang Valley motorists.
- Adopted from Tragedi Kuala Kubu 1883 - Buku Rekod Malaysia Edisi Kedua, Ghulam Jie M Khan