Actively responding to a variety of social issues is one way the Chamber keeps close ties with society, including criticizing racial discrimination. The earliest protest targeted the “For Chinese Only” first class carriage by the FMS Railways Company in 1904. As a major voice against social ills throughout the pre-war years, the Chamber also took initiatives to oppose public gambling and opium smoking, and to aid rehabilitation of people involved in these social ills.

The Selangor Anti Opium Society, seated fourth from right is Chan Sow Lin, c.1900s.
The 5th Anti Opium Conference of the Federated Malay States and the Straits Settlements was held in Ipoh in 1907.
The Chamber not only actively involved itself in and organized the anti-opium movement, it also assisted with the lodging needs and rehabilitation of opium addicts.
Chinese coolies smoking opium.
KLSCCCI was vocal against gambling, which was once very common among the Chinese community.
The early Chinese immigrants brought with them their traditions while migrating to Malaya, including firing crackers during Lunar New Year, which might easily set nearby wooden houses ablaze. Since its establishment, the Chamber was already acting as an intermediary between the Chinese community and the government to help the police in Selangor regulate the firing of crackers during traditional festivals. Shown here is a copy of circular, regarding the time and venue for firing crackers, printed in Mandarin and issued by the police.


The Chamber maintains its leadership as a representative of the Chinese community by voicing concern for the interests of a wide spectrum of the Chinese community, including both rich merchants and working class Chinese people, such as rickshaw pullers, hawkers, peddlers etc, whose everyday business were frequently affected by various government policies. As an intermediary between working class Chinese and the government, the Chamber helped to solve conflicts between the two.

In a letter dated 31st March 1904, Resident-General of Federated Malay States Sir William Hood Treacher commanded the General Manager of FMS Railways to set up a “For Chinese Only” first class carriage. The command, regarded as racist and anti-Chinese, immediately drew opposition from the Chamber, which was newly established and under the leadership of its first President Towkay Loke Yew.
On 18th February 1912 or the First Day of First Lunar Month, two months after the establishment of the Republic of China, a gang fight broke out between a Cantonese dialect group and a Hokkian dialect group in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown and spread to neighboring areas such as Ampang , Salak South, Sungai Besi and Serdang. Both the society and the government were as shocked by the collision, which injured and killed many people. The violent incident was not just about competition over territory between secret societies, but also continuation of a rivalry between the revolutionaries and the reformists. The Chamber immediately called for a meeting on the 5th Day of First Lunar Month to find a solution to the conflict.
A letter from KLSCCCI to the colonial authority, requesting that all laws be translated into Mandarin for the Chinese merchants.
Malaya faced shortage of rice immediately after World War II. The Chamber and nineteen Chinese associations jointly submitted a proposal, regarding the price control and import of rice, to the British Malaya government.
KLSCCCI explained issues regarding commercialization registration act in Nanyang Siang Pau in 1940.
Chamber made every effort to encourage all eligible Chinese to register as voters on the eve of the first general election in Malaya. In June 1951, Wen Tien Kuang, the Chamber’s secretary, handed over 150 completed registration forms to the Registration Officer at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall’s Registration Center.
The Chamber has been a bridge between the authority and the Chinese community since its establishment. For example, in July 1955, the Chamber helped relay a message from the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council to the female workers in tin mines and construction sites, advising them to uncover themselves while cycling to avoid road accidents.

Protesting Restriction on Advertisement Language and Cultural Activities

After the introduction and implementation of National Culture Policy in 1970, the Chamber was a major voice to protect Chinese culture as the government imposed stricter control over Chinese language and cultural activities, such as restrictions on the size of Chinese characters of outdoor advertisement boards, lion dance performance permits etc.

On 14 November 1981, Kuala Lumpur City Hall announced a new policy, whereby all outdoor advertisement boards must use the national language and the size of non-national language characters must be smaller than the national language characters.
Mr. Zheng Min Wei, person in charge of Asia Signcrafts and a member of the Chamber, penned a letter to the Chamber on 26 November 1981, urging the president to take action against the unreasonable restriction regarding the language of outdoor advertisement boards.
Mr. Tok Kek Yam, Head of the Chamber’s Industry and Commerce Committee, penned a letter to Encik Kamaruddin Omar, Senior Official of Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s Advertisement Division, urging the City Hall to relax its regulation on the language of outdoor advertisement board.
On 29 Jan 1983, the Chamber’s President Datuk Wong Tok Chai (left) led a 12-person delegation to meet Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam to discuss the incident of Chinese advertisement signboards being torn down in Kuala Lumpur.
On 23 March 1983, the Chamber’s President Datuk Wong Tok Chai (third from right) led a 13-person delegation to meet Kuala Lumpur Mayor Elyas Omar to discuss regulations on the language of outdoor advertisement boards.
© Copyright KLSCCCI. All rights reserved.
error: Content is protected