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Damansara is a suburb in Petaling Jaya, a mukim in Petaling District, as well as an upcoming parliamentary constituency in Selangor, Malaysia. It is named after the Damansara River which flows nearby. It is one of the most densely populated areas in Malaysia. According to the 2000 Census of Malaysia, it was the second-largest district subdivision in Malaysia in terms of population with 453,420 residents.
The area defined as Damansara has changed over time. The mukim (commune/sub-district) of Damansara, being part of Klang before 1974, covered the state capital Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Bandar Sunway, Kelana Jaya, Kota Kemuning and parts of Putra Heights. It was named after the Damansara River which flows through the commune. The mukim of Damansara therefore roughly corresponds to the parliamentary constituencies of Shah Alam, Kelana Jaya and Kota Raja.
Today, the definition of Damansara has moved north, in the northern part of Petaling Jaya's municipal area, bordered by Kelana Jaya in the south, Kepong/Sungai Buloh in the north and Segambut in the east, covering the constituencies of PJ North, Kelana Jaya and Subang.
The place called Damansara today was actually marked as Damar Sara in a map of 1882. 'Damar' means resin obtained from any of a number of tropical, chiefly Indo-Malaysian trees, used to make varnish, while 'Sara' means precious or important in Sanskrit. It has been speculated that the then British Resident and land registrar, Sir William Maxwell, had accidentally mistook the ‘r’ for an ‘n’ and merged the words ‘Damar Sara’ into ‘Damansara' when he implements Selangor Registration of Titles Regulation on 1891. Damansara was originally a small river port, and the harbour was known as Labuhan Sara – Labuhan means a place for ships to anchor, while sara can be taken to mean "departure" or "embarkation" (related to the word bersara meaning retirement).
Damansara was originally a small harbour-like settlement that was located near the mouth of the Damansara River along the Klang River. In the mid-1870s, it was the final destination for steamboats used by the British to travel to Kuala Lumpur from Klang as the steam boats used cannot go as far as the center of Kuala Lumpur near the junction of Gombak River and Klang River. Travellers would then go from Damansara to Kuala Lumpur via the Damansara Road which finished at Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur.
The Damansara area is home to several townships, but most of the subdivision falls under the administration of Petaling Jaya City Council. As of 2004, it includes the following townships:
- Damansara Impian (SS 20)
- Damansara Kim (SS 20)
- Damansara Utama (SS 21)
- Damansara Jaya (SS 22)
- Ara Damansara (previously known as Ladang Pilmoor , or Pilmoor Estate in English) (PJU 1A)
- Aman Suria Damansara (PJU 1A)
- Damansara Idaman (PJU 1A)
- Damansara Lagenda (PJU 1A)
- Pelangi Damansara (PJU 3)
- Tropicana Golf & Country Resort (PJU 3)
- Tropicana Indah (previously known as Damansara Indah) (PJU 3)
- Sunway Damansara (PJU 5)
- Kota Damansara (PJU 5)
- Damansara Emas (PJU 5)
- Bandar Utama Damansara (PJU 6)
- Mutiara Damansara (PJU 7)
- Damansara Perdana (PJU 8)
- Bukit Lanjan (PJU 8)
- Flora Damansara (PJU 8)
- Bandar Sri Damansara (PJU 9)
- ForestHill Damansara (PJU 9)
- Damansara Damai (PJU 10)
- Sutera Damansara (PJU 10)
- Saujana Damansara (PJU 10)
Damansara has been dubbed the "Golden Triangle" of Petaling Jaya. Commercially, it is positioned to do well, boasting a Tesco outlet, IPC Shopping Centre, One Utama, the largest IKEA outlet in Southeast Asia, as well as The Curve shopping complex, all of them located within a stone's throw of each other.
Besides that, the Uptown commercial area, which houses the Malaysian branch of several multi-national companies, is located in Damansara Utama.
Due to different delineations for electoral purposes, as of 2013, Damansara is mostly divided over two voting districts in its representation in Parliament. One is the constituency of Subang by Sivarasa Rasiah, a member of the People's Justice Party while the other is under Petaling Jaya Utara by Tony Pua of the Democratic Action Party. Both parties are part of the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat. In the Selangor State Assembly, the communities are represented by Yeo Bee Yin from the Democratic Action Party for the constituency of Damansara Utama, Elizabeth Wong from the People's Justice Party for the constituency of Bukit Lanjan and Halimanton Saadiah Binti Bohan of UMNO for the constituency of Kota Damansara.
Following a re-delineation exercise in 2016, a new Damansara constituency will be established, containing the state seats of Bandar Utama, Bukit Lanjan and Kampung Tunku, pending finalization.
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