Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur

Kuya Nikos and I continued walking around Merdeka Square, reading the historic significance of this once important site when this Moorish building caught my eye. The architectural style closely resembled the Train Station and Administration building. We didn’t get too close because we have to go around to visit the Jamek Mosque first. Here is the beginning of its conception.

The building in 1902, then known simply as Government Offices

“The government offices of the British colonial administration was originally located in the Bluff Road (now Jalan Bukit Aman) area on a hill overlooking the Padang now called Merdeka Square. However, due to the need for more office space and complaints from the public about the necessity of going up and down the hill, the State Engineer of Selangor Public Works Department Charles Edwin Spooner proposed the building of government offices lower down at the plain. the initial suggestion was rejected due to cost, but the British Resident of Selangor William Edward Maxwell accepted a second proposal that cost less.

view of the building from Jamek Mosque

The building was originally designed by A.C. Norman and his assistant R. A. J. Bidwell in a Classical Renaissance style, but Spooner disliked the design. It was then reworked by Bidwell under Spooner’s guidance in a style variously described as Indo-Saracenic, Neo-Mughal, or Moorish. Later A. B. Hubback who had just starting working for the colonial government in Malaya as a senior draughtsman also worked on it. 

Although the building is formally credited to A.C. Norman (only his name appears on the foundation stone as the architect) and his ground plan was kept, the actual design is to a large extent the work of R. A. J. Bidwell, with some contributions from A. B. Hubback who also designed the fixtures of the building.

The construction of the building began in September 1894 and was completed in 1897. The foundation stone was laid on 6 October 1894 by the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Charles Mitchell.

Marching in front of the Abdul Samad Building

Spooner also made many alterations and additions while the building was being constructed with the help of A. B. Hubback. Some of these, such as an extra two and a half feet of brickwork on the lower walls, were necessary to strengthen the building due to it being built so close to the river. 

The height of the clock tower had also caused much concern to the public, who thought that the tower may collapse due to the ground vibrations caused by a loud signal gun fired daily at noon and 5 pm, the built tower however proved to be sturdy. A problem arose with the clock first delivered as it was not in harmony with the building, and it was replaced by a second one. The clock was manufactured by Gillett & Johnston Ltd of Croydon.

Abdul Samad of Selangor

After the mosque, we got out and around the side to this building and now I have the chance to closely inspect it and took some pictures. Unfortunately, it was still functioning as a government office so we didn’t get the chance to explore the interior. Nevertheless, I thought it was one of the attractive buildings here in Kuala Lumpur. To end our inspection of this beautiful colonial building here is the rest of its history.


“In 1974, all of the State of Selangor Government offices were relocated to Shah Alam, and the various departments of the Federal Government also moved their offices elsewhere. The building was then renamed Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad (Sultan Abdul Samad Building) and renovated.

The building now houses the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia and underwent further refurbishment.”

Here are the links for more information:

Say Cheez!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s