Kuala Kubu Bharu, is the district capital of Hulu Selangor District, Selangor, Malaysia. It was built after the town of Kuala Kubu was found to be unfit to continue as a town due to its severe flood problem, particularly when it was completely destroyed in a flood disaster in 1883.
Fondly known as KKB it is the last small town you drive through if driving to Fraser’s Hill. It is an interesting stop as it shows an authentic small rural town as if time had stopped with small walkways and shop signs that look antique.
KKB before its establishment in 1925, started off as the town of Kuala Kubu. Well known 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.
During the later part of the 19th century, Kuala Kubu was placed under administration of the Administrative Resident Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham, followed by JP Rodger and Edward Maxwell. At that time, Kuala Kubu was a gateway to the state of Pahang through what is today Route 55.
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’s Magistrate and Tax Collector Officer, 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 Planter’s Club House (now demolished and replaced with Masjid Ar-Rahimiah). Since then, the old town has been known as Ampang Pechah (Broken Dam), and locals termed the flooding as the Kuala Kubu Tragedy.
After the incident, the British Federated Malay States (FMS) government established a new town, calling it Kuala Kubu Bharu (“bharu” meaning new in the Malay language) in an area located on the north of the old town of Kuala Kubu. Kuala Kubu Bharu formally became the administrative centre of Hulu Selangor district in 1931.
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.
The Hulu Selangor District Council was established on 1 January 1975 to administer the district of Hulu Selangor which included Kuala Kubu Bharu and the surrounding towns of Batang Kali and Serendah. On 15 January 1994, the Administrative Office of Hulu Selangor District Council moved to its present site at Jalan Bukit Kerajaan, replacing the former location in the former Old Market in Kuala Kubu Bharu town.
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