SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
Residents of the city are popularly known as ‘KL-ites’. Even those not strictly residing within the boundaries of KL proper are nonetheless regarded as KL-ites because the urban agglomeration covering the Klang Valley is informally the territory of ’Greater Kuala Lumpur’.
Greater Kuala Lumpur is a metropolitan sprawl of over 8 million people. Kuala Lumpur in earlier times was a predominantly Chinese town. Today it is a polyglot city with a Malay majority but even locals may be surprised to learn that 13.4 percent of KL residents today are foreign (non Malaysians).
They comprise low skilled workers of various nationalities from neighbouring and Asian countries. There are also enterprising Africans and expats who include Europeans, Americans, Arabs, Middle and Central Asia citizens, Koreans, and Chinese from the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in Asia.
A significant number of illegal immigrants also live and work in KL, but it is unsure whether even the authorities can pin down the exact figures.
The majority of Klang Valley Chinese are Cantonese – the dialect which serves as the community’s lingua franca. Mandarin is also widely spoken. Meanwhile Tamil is dominant among the KL Indian population. Many KLites converse in English and Malay is the most common language in use in the public sector.