Sultan Abdul Samad Building

I’ve seen this building several times when driving around the city, but never really stopped to look at it until a few weeks ago when I went to Merdeka Square. It really is a beautiful building and right now it is the home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was built during 1894-1897 and is named after the fourth Sultan of Selangor, who was in power during the construction and completion of the building. Before becoming home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia, this building was occupied by the Federal Court of Malaysia, the Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya. The High Court of Malaya was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex in 2007 and the Court of Appeals left with the Federal Court of Malaysia a few years before that.

When the building was first completed it was used for the colonial British administrative offices, which led to it commonly being called the Government Offices. After Malaysia declared their independence from England in 1957, the building became home to the different judicial branches as well as being a temporary home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1966.

As for the architecture, the building was built by A.C. Norman who had gone to Africa for a few years and had fallen in love with the architectural designs of the Muslim Moors. He had also spent some time in India and had been attracted to the designs of the mosques he saw there, which influenced his design of this building. 

The apex of the building is the clock tower, affectionately called Big Ben. It stands at 41 meters tall and first began operating during the Jubilee Parade for Queen Victoria in 1897. It has not stopped working since that time. One of the most notable events surrounding the clock tower was when Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak began using the same standard time on January 1, 1982.