Initially it was used as an officers’ mess by the occupying Japanese forces, and later on by the British Air Force once the Japanese surrendered. It also, temporarily, served as the Palace for the Sultan of Selangor whilst his own residence was being built. In 1957 the Istana Negara was taken over by the Federal Government of Malaysia, and was given a facelift before being assigned as the official residence of the King and Queen of the country.
Located on an 11 hectare wooded property in Kuala Lumpur, the palace was built in 1928 as the private residence of Chan Wing, the Chinese tin tycoon, who gained his wealth through the development of the Hong Fatt Tin Mine, one of the famous mines of the city.
Back in 1928 Chang Wing spent a fortune on building this elaborate structure to house his 9 wives and 26 children. But during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia, he was forced to flee the country and go into hiding in China, as he was a supporter of the anti-Japanese resistance in China. Though his descendants still have business interests in the country, during the war they lost the ownership of the palace.
During the time it served as the residence of the Royal Family it was similar to that of Buckingham Palace; it was to be seen from outside through the elaborate fence, as visitors were not allowed inside the grounds. Now there is a new palace serving as the official residence of the Royal Family, and the Istana Negara is open for public viewing. Therefore, visitors interested in learning more about the history of the country as well as the city, may visit this site to view the structure and the grounds around it.
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