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Yap Ah Loy becomes Kapitan Cina of KL

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Yap Ah Loy inherits the Kapitanship (1862-1868). 

In 1861, Liu Ngim Kong (the former panglima of Kapitan Shin Kap of Sungei Ujong) arrived in Kuala Lumpur and became Hiu Siew's head panglima. He was not known to be a popular person, his nickname "Pah Loh Tsi" implied rapacity and ingratitude.

Liu Ngim Kong had arrived less than a year when Hiu Siew died. Liu Ngim Kong took over both the Kapitancy and Hiu Siew's private property, even though Hiu Siew had a son to inherit the family's properties.

After Liu Ngim Kong became the Kapitan, he invited Yap Ah Loy who was now the Kapitan Cina of Sungei Ujong, to be his panglima and manager of his business. Yap Ah Loy realized Kuala Lumpur's potential was greater than that of Sungei Ujong's, thus he resigned from his Kapitancy in Sungei Ujong to take up Liu Ngim Kong's offer. He brought along three men, Teng Sam, Tung Khoon and Wong Poh. The first two men were to remain in Yap Ah Loy's service until their death during the Selangor Civil War.

In Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy soon became a wealthy man. Besides his salary as a panglima, he had opened 2 mines and a Chinese medicine shop. In the same year the medicine shop was opened, he married Kok Kang Keown, a Baba girl from Malacca, under Liu Ngim Kong's arrangement. In 1864, Yap Ah Loy led the locals in building the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of Kapitan Shin Kap.

In the meantime, Kapitan Liu Ngim Kong had become a sickly man, and he knew his death was near. He tried to persuade Yap Ah Sze to take over the Kapitancy as Yap Ah Sze was known for his honesty. However, Yap Ah Sze was a shy man, and was more interested in taking care of his business. Hence, they decided that Yap Ah Loy should take over the Kapitancy. At this time, Yap Ah Loy was managing Liu Ngim Kong's businesses in Klang. After the decision was made, Liu Ngim Kong sought the support of the local Malays, including Sutan Puasa, the leading Sumatran trader of Kuala Lumpur and the local landowners, from whom the Chinese rented the land to mine. After their support were obtained, Liu Ngim Kong visited the Sultan to seek his approval, which the Sultan duly agreed.

In August 1868, when Liu Ngim Kong's death was near, he called Yap Ah Loy to his bedside and told him of the arrangements to make Yap Ah Loy the next Kapitan Cina. He knew Yap Ah Loy to be a faithful man and told Yap Ah Loy to take care of his son, to manage his estate on his behalf and gave Yap Ah Loy his keys. He also told Yap Ah Loy to move his remains to Malacca for burial. Liu Ngim Kong died the next month.

As soon as Kapitan Liu died, his clansmen, those with the surnames of Liu, Kon and Chong, all clamoured for the Kapitancy and the family property. Yap Ah Loy promptly returned to Kuala Lumpur to carry out the late Kapitan's wishes. The late Kapitan's clansmen became annoyed with the arrangements and made trouble not only over the succession, but also seized some furniture and personal belongings of the late Kapitan. After Sutan Puasa explained that the arrangements had the blessings of the Sultan and the local chiefs, the dispute was settled.

Yap Ah Loy signing an official document

Thus, Yap Ah Loy became the third Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur.


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The History of Yap Ah Loy
This page was last modified on September 12, 2000