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Larry Lam's Guide Note
KUALA LUMPUR

SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was originally known as "The New Government Offices". It is one of the oldest buildings in KL. AC Norman (architect) and CE Spooner (state enginner) have been credited for the creation of this building. However, it is recognised that although AC Norman drew the ground plan, it was RAJ Bidwell (chief draughtman) who did the elevation based on a Mohametan (sic) style as instucted by CE Spooner. This 'Mohametan' architecture, also known as 'Neo-Saracenic', came from India where several major buildings had been built in this style.

It was to be the largest building of its day, constructed entirely of brick and what appears to be cream stone is actually plaster covered brick. The construction began in 1894. Some 4 million bricks, 2,500 barrels of cement, 18,000 pikuls of lime, 5,000 pounds of copper, 50 tons of steel and iron and 30,000 cubic feet of timber were used. Work was completed in 1897 at a cost of 152,000 Straits Dollars.

The front fašade is 137.2m (450 ft) in length with an imposing porch in the centre. The porch consists of three horseshoe arches, the piers supporting them being nearly 1.2m (4 ft) in thickness. The 41.2m (135 ft) central tower holds a clock that was first heard during Queen Victoria's birthday parade in 1897. This is surmounted by a copper dome that is in turn topped by a copper chatri. Two circular towers, housing stairways leading to the upper floor, flank the central tower.

The building became the centre of British administration in Selangor. The ground floor initially housed the Public Works Department, District Offices, Mines Department, Lands, Audit, and Treasury, with each office having its own vault. The Post Office and the Sanitary Board were also located here. On the first floor were the offices of the Secretariat, a State Council Room, a Sanitary Board Hall, rooms for the Resident and other officials and Chinese Secretariat.

Australia in 1982 donated money to recopper the black painted dooms.

When Selangor transferred its administrative offices to Shah Alam in 1974, the building was extensively renovated to house the nation's judiciary. This grand building has been left vacant recently when the "courts" move to Putrajaya, the new administrative centre of Malaysia.


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