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Saturday May 26, 2007

No longer Swettenham Road

JALAN Sultan Salahuddin is not a road that most travel to for entertainment or food, rather most head down there for official or administrative purposes. 

The road is home to many government departments and is located in a quaint part of the city just around the corner from the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial and the Experimental Theatre. 

Named after the eleventh Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the road was previously known as Swettenham Road, named after the first resident general of the Federated Malay States after Frank Althestane Swettenham. 

Born in Derbyshire in 1950, Swettenham joined the Singaporean civil service in 1871 and served also in Malacca and Penang where he picked up the Malay language. That allowed him to play major roles as a British-Malay intermediary when British started imposing their influence in the Malay states. 

He was a member of the Commission for the Pacification of Larut, which was set up after the signing of the Pangkor Treaty in 1874, and the commission helped freed many women who were taken captive during the Larut Wars, dismantled stockades and restored the tin-mining business.  

In 1882, Swettenham was appointed as resident of Selangor and he actively promoted the development of coffee and tobacco estates. He also helped increased tin mining revenues by constructing a railway from Kuala Lumpur to port of Klang.  

King George VI knighted Swettenham in 1901, and three years before his retirement, he was elected High Commissioner for the Malay States and Governor of the Straits Settlements.  

He was also one of the former British officials to actually oppose the formation of Malayan Union. He wrote a dictionary, Vocabulary of the English and Malay Languages and also published two books Malay Sketches and Un-addressed Letters.  

The eleventh King Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj was born in 1926 at Istana Bandar Temasya in Kuala Lumpur. He went to Pengkalan Batu Malay School and Malay College Kuala Kangsar before furthering his studies at University of London in 1947.  

When he returned, he served as a trainee officer with the Selangor Survey Department and then as an Inspector of Schools for eight years. In 1952, after attending a short course at the Malay Military Troop in Port Dickson, he was commissioned as a captain and was later promoted to a major.  

Sultan Salahuddin took over the throne as Sultan of Selangor on Sept 3, 1960 after his father’s death and was the Sultan who signed the cession of Kuala Lumpur from Selangor to the federal government to form a Federal Territory.  

On April 26, 1984, he was appointed Captain-in-Chief of the Royal Navy by the Malaysian Armed Forces.  

He was then elected as the King on April 26, 1999.  

Sultan Salahuddin was a keen sportsman and showed immense interest in golfing. He also loved sailing, travelling, collecting antique cars, rearing animals and planting orchids.  

After two-and-a-half years in office as king, he died in 2001 and was buried in the Royal Mausoleum near Sultan Sulaiman Mosque in Klang.  

Sultan Salahuddin is remembered as a well-loved and humble monarch who truly cared for his people.  


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