Background

Selangor is one of the most facinating states in Malaysia, being the most developed in the country and among the best in infrastructure and telecommunications facilities in the region. It offers a gateway to never-ending discoveries, entertainment and excitement for all.

Located strategically on all major travel routes, Selangor has been called the gateway to Malaysia. The state covers about 125,000 sq. km. and has an average climate of 26 C(80 C) with a relative humidity of 8%.

Selangor state administration is run by a Chief Minister and his cabinet of State Executive Councillors, the head of state being the Sultan of Selngor. Selangor is divided into nine districts with Shah Alam as the state Capital. In 1974, the city of Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding subburbs were ceded to the Federal Government for the creation of the Federal Territory. Kuala Lumpur is now the capital city of the Federation of Malaysia.

 

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, or more affectionately known just as "KL" is Malaysia's Capital City. It covers an area of approximately 243 sq. km. It was given city ststus in 1972 and by 1974 Kuala Lumpur was declared a Federal Territory.

Kuala Lumpur started as a mining settlement in the late 1800s. With tin deposits dicovered by the Klang and Gombak rivers, the settlement began to flourish. Since then, the growth of the city has been continuing unabated with a current population of about 1.5 million people. It is now the pulse of the nation, buzzing with vitality.

The city's strategic location makes it the choice as a popular venue for many internationl events and conventions. Kuala Lumpur is leading the country in all fields of development; trade & commerce, banking & finance, manufacturing, transportation, information, technology and tourism. All of which are supported by an excellent infrastructure.

Visitors will have no trouble getting to Kuala Lumpur, with over 40 international airlines serving the city's new state-of-the-art KLIA International air port in Sepang. Domestic routes are also aplenty, served by more than more than 5 airlines including Malaysia Airlines.

By land, Malaysia is accessible through Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) train service from Thailand up north and Singapore down south. KTMB is Malaysia's primier train service which connects most of the principal towns in Peninsular Malaysia.

By sea, the main port for all cruise liners and ships would be Port Klang, which is located only 41km from KL.

 

Local Ettiquette

1. The traditional Muslim greeting of "salam" resembles a basic handshake except with both hands without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches the visitors outstretched hands then brings his hands back to his chest to mean "I greet you from my heart". The visitor should also reciprocate the greeting. For most of the population, a simple handshake would also suffice.

2. When visiting a Malaysian home, it it polite to call beforehand. Shoes should also be removed before entering a home.

3. Drinks and titbits are usually served to guests. It would be polite to accept. The right hand is used to receive or give objects.

4. When pointing at something, the forefinger is generally not used as it is considered to be rude, especially when pointing at a person. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with the four fingers folded is the preferred chioce.

5. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcaholic beverges. Therefore, toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia and offering alcohol to a Muslim is rude or even insulting.

6. Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques even provdes robes and scarves for its female patrons. Taking photographs are usually permitted though express permission should be obtained from the temple or mosque authority before proceeding.

 

Festivals
Major Festivals Celebrated Throughout the Country

Hari Raya Aidilfitri - This Muslim celebration marks the end of Ramadhan, a month of fasting. This meaningful day is ushered in with prayers at the mosque and asking for forgiveness from family members. It is also customary for Muslim families to open their homes to friends and well-wishes. Visiting the homes of their friends and relatives are also done in return. special delicacy is usually served which is called the lembang. Lembangs are glutinous rice cooked in bambo stems.

Chinese New Year - A joyfull celebration which lasts for 15 days, beginning from the first day of the Chinese lunaar calendar. Chinese New Year is marked by family reunions, the symbolic giving of red packets "ang pow" by parents to their children or among relatives and well wishes. Mandarin oranges are usually also given away with the "ang pows". This practice is intended to symbolise prosperity and good luck for the recipients. Another of the festivals more prominent features are the lion and dragon dances.

Deepavali - Deepavali, The Festival of Lights is celebrated by the Hindus. This celebration signifies the triumph of good over evil. Deepavali is celebrated on the 7th month in the Hindu calendar. Preceeding the days festivities, the Hindus take a traditional oil bath. Celbration then includes special prayersat ones altar and visits to the temple. Houses are adorned with many lights or oil lamps signifying Lord Krishna's triumphant battle againts the demon Ravana.

Thaipusam - Another Hindu festival, Thaipusam marks the day for penance and atonement. The festival begins in Kuala Lumpur with a grand procession of a silver chariot. This chariot will bear the statue of Lord Subramaniam. Similar processions go on throughout the country and a striking feature of this festival is the sight of Hindu devotees carrying 'Kavadis', wooden or steel yokes with long spikes and hooks pierced into their bodies. Chanting and singing will be heard throughout the procession and another interesting sight would be the breaking of thousands of coconuts all along the streets.

Wesak Day - Wesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. As such, this day is the most aupicious day in the Buddhist calendar. Celebrations begins early, before dawn where Buddhist devotees will gather at temples thoughout the country. It is a time for prayers, chanting, peace and good will. One significant act on this celebration is the releasing of doves or tortoises at the temples.

National Day - August 31, The day of Malaysian Independance. Our nations National Day, celebrated in Kuala Lunpur at Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square) in front of the Royal Selangor Club. Float processions, colorful parades and performances are the highlights where thousands of people converge upon to see. This celebration however, is also rotated among other states but nevertheless is still an aweaspiring sight as this day is a proud day for all Malaysians.

Federal Territory Day - This festival is only celebrated within Kuala Lumpur. It was on this day that Kuala Lumpur was declared as a Federal Territory. Day long celebrations of performance and competitions are held at the city's main parks, Lake Gardens and Tasik Titiwangsa.