The Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur ( as it was known then ), the oldest in South - East Asia, existed in spirit as early as 1918, when leaders of government, commerce and professions residing in Kuala Lumpur mooted the idea of forming an association to promote community service and inter - community harmony.
This lofty idea gained tremendous support from leaders of the various communities in Kuala Lumpur, and the Concord Club - organised on Rotary lines - was subsequently formed in the early 1920s.
Through the visit of Mr. James W. Davidson, RotaryInternational's "Special Commissioner", the Concord Club evolved into the Provisional Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur on 20th July 1928.
The Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur was inaugurated on 27th September 1929, with Andrew Caldecott (later Sir Andrew) as the Founder President, David Gammans ( later Sir David ) as the first Secretary and 29 other Founder Members. Among them were famous names such as Raja Tun Uda, Choo Kia Peng ( the first Vice President ), Loke Choe Thye, Mungo Park, A.Viswalingam, Dato' Hamsah B. Abdullah, Pat Benjamin Talalla, Khoo Teik Ee, Robert Boyd and A. S. Bailey.Through an unfortunate administrative mix - up, the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur was formally chartered by Rotary International rather belatedly on 15th January 1930, vide Charter No. 3268. By the time the Charter was received, membership of the Club had increased to 65. Among them was Tan Sri Dato' Gunn Lay Teik who later was to become District Governor.
The Club did not function during the Japanese Occupation between 1942 and 1946. The first post - war meeting was convened in October 1946, with 3 members attending. This membership grew to 65 by 1947.
The Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur has had the honour of sponsoring several Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs. The nine Rotary Clubs it sponsored were Klang Coast ( now Klang founded in 1930 ), Kuantan ( 1952 - 1953 ), Petaling Jaya ( 1960 -1961 ), Pudu ( 1963 - 1964 ), Cameron Highlands ( 1968 - 1969 ), Kuala Lumpur North ( now Gombak - 1970 ), Damansara ( 1980 - 1981 ), and Kepong Baru ( 1989 ). The Bangsar Rotary Club was sponsored by the Damansara Rotary Club and its Founder President was one of our Club's worthy Rotarians, Lal Chand Mahadev. Three Youthact Clubs were sponsored over the years but are no longer active. They were Youthact Clubs of Sekolah Sri Garden ( founded in 2001 ), SMK Taman Desa ( 2002 ) and Alice Smith School - Equine Park ( 2005 ).
The school -based Interact Clubs that were sponsored are numerous and include St. Johns Institution ( founded 1962 - 1963 ), Maxwell School ( 1964 - 1965 ), Bukit Bintang Girl School ( 1971 - 72 ), Convent Bukit Nanas ( 1972 - 1973 ), Setapak High School, Air Panas Girls' School, Methodist High School ( Brickfields ), Aminuddin Baki School, Convent Jalan Peel and Sri Garden School. Sadly, many have ceased to operate but new ones were formed in recent years. Currently, they are Interact Clubs of Taylor's International School, Wesley Methodist School, SMK Seri Bintang Utara, SMK Seri Bintang Selatan and SMK St. Johns Institution.
In the second half of the last century three Rotaract Clubs were sponsored. The first Rotaract Club of Kuala Lumpur ( founded 1967 - 68), is still operational. The other two, Rotaract Club of University of Malaya ( 1971 - 72 ) and Rotaract Club of Stamford Secretarial Centre ( 1977 - 78 ), which later became Rotaract Club of Wanita Wilayah, ceased operation some years later. In the 2000s a renewed effort was made resulting in two new clubs being formed, the Rotaract Club of UCSI, which is University - based, and Rotaract Club of St. John's Institution.
During Rotary year 2002 - 03, a Rotary Community Corps was established at Kampung Sungei Lui - not far from the Kuala Lumpur city centre - and is still in operation today. It is one of two such communities in the country.
The list of charity and community service projects of RCKL DiRaja is long and diversified. Among the major projects carried out during the past more than 90 years are the establishment of the Sungei Buloh leprosarium, the first Blood Bank, forming of the Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the Brickfields House for Problem Boys, Royal Commonwealth Society of Malaya, Medic Alert Foundation. Also included are the construction of the Rotary - Perkim Rehabilitation Centre, establishing a bakery cum training centre for Pusat Serenti Tampin and the Rotary Training Institute for Carers of the Handicapped ( ROTICH ).
RCKL also initiated the idea of the Outward Bound School, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It sponsored the Malaysian Zoological Society and National Zoo, Diabetes Association, donated a Mobile Library, a Mobile Eye Clinic, a Mobile Blood Donor's van, a skating rink at Lake Gardens, Pavilions at Taman Titiwangsa. The club contributed to the Selangor & FT Spastic Children's Association Building and many other Projects.
In recognition of the 70 years of service RCKL had given to the community, the then Sultan of Selangor conferred the royal status on the Club effective 08th October 1997. This was and still is a great honour to the Club as at that time no other Rotary club in the world had been given the "Royal" status. On 21st October 1997, Rotary International approved the name change from Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur to Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja.
This milestone in the history of the Club was captured by the issuance of a Souvenir Cover by the then Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications & Post on 28th March 1998 and this was subsequently released for sale to the public.
With its long history - and being one of the biggest Clubs in the District - it comes as no surprise that some 14 District Governors were elected from the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja over the years. Today, three of them are still active members of the Club. They are Dato' Hj Mustapha Ma ( 1986 - 87 ), Dato' Beh Lye Huat ( 1997 - 1998 ), and Dato' Jimmy Lim Thaw Chay ( 2006 - 2007 ).
The lifeline of the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja is the Kuala Lumpur Rotary Charity Foundation (KLRCF). Funds received are chanelled into KLRCF, which is run by an elected management committee. Millions of Malaysian Ringgit were donated over the years and the income generated is used to fund the numerous charity and service projects undertaken by the club every year.
Construction of the club's signature project - the BRDB Rotary Children's Residence - commenced in 2012 and was completed in 2015. This RM 6.5 million home boasts separate dormitories for boys and girls, study and leisure rooms, a dining hall, a basketball court and accommodation for some carers. It is now fully operational and managed by a competent team of professionals. It currently houses 66 children of diverse ethnicity. With the proposed addition of another wing it will eventually accommodate 100 or more underprivileged, needy, disadvantaged and abandoned children. It is without a doubt one of the best facilities of its kind in Malaysia.