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Setapak (Chinese: 文良港) is a commune (mukim) in Gombak constituency of Selangor, as well as a major suburb in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Formerly a tin-mining and rubber-growing area, in Malay tapak means 'step' so Setapak means 'one step', probably referring to the close proximity of the suburb to Kuala Lumpur. Another explanation of the origin of its name traces to its historical roots.


The earliest inhabitants of Setapak were the aborigines (orang asli), and the Minangkabaus. On 12 April 1884 Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor pleaded for the re-appointment of Batu Tapak as the headman of the aborigines living in that area, and hence the name Setapak, in honour of the headman.

Geographical definition[edit]

The mukim (commune/subdistrict) of Setapak is situated north-east of Kuala Lumpur in the constituency of Gombak and has an area of 62 square miles (160 km2). The northern limit of Setapak is Gunung Bunga Buah; its north-eastern limit is Genting Sempah on the Pahang border; to the east is Bukit Dinding and to the south-east is the Rifle range. The state constituency of Gombak Setia roughly corresponds to the boundaries of the mukim of Setapak; before 1974 it also includes what is today the parliamentary constituencies of Wangsa Maju and Setiawangsa.

The Gombak River with its source in Gunung Bunga Buah, is the main river flowing through the mukim. Setapak consists of Gombak town, the Hot spring New Village and a number of other villages.[1]

Today, what is regarded as 'Setapak' consists of the township of Wangsa Maju, as well as the first few kilometres of Jalan Pahang and some surrounding areas. The Titiwangsa Recreational Park is located just south of Setapak. Loke Yew Hill is a place of major historical interest in this town. Named after the Chinese philanthropist, this hill contains ruins of a fortress surrounding the dilapidated villa which belonged to the Loke family. It is also the burial ground for the Loke family.

In 1961 the Zoological society was formed, and the National Zoo of Malaysia (Zoo Negara) in Setapak was officially opened by the Prime Minister and on 16 November 1963. The Zoo is situated about 13 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur, onroute to Ulu Klang and situated on a 42-acre (17 ha) semi-virgin jungle with a reserve of 100 acres (40 ha) for further development.



  1. ^ "Setapak (Sejarah Malaysia)". Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia. Archived from the original on January 18, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 

Coordinates: 3°12′13″N 101°43′28″E / 3.20361°N 101.72444°E / 3.20361; 101.72444