In early 1920, Kulai which is formerly known as Gui Lai means arrival of tortoise. From history, Kulai gets its name from an event in which during the rainy season Sungai Kulai was hit by flood and as a result plenty of tortoises emerge at the river banks and moved towards the town. This flood had caused the Hainan people to naming it as ‘Gui Lai'. The evidence of Gui Lai can be seen at the sign board which written in Chinese at Kulai railway station. However, it was difficult to write Gui Lai in Chinese language therefore the name was changed to Kulai and it is used until present.
However, the name Kulai which taken from the flood event, have its own story. Before 1890, namely during the stage of the Kulai's opening which originated from Sungai Kulai, had facilitate the locals to plough the crops. At that moment, the opening of Xin Jie Chang (Pekan Baru) by Encik Tan Yook Fong, the administrator of that area (known as Gan Zhu), were among the first people visit Kulai.
Flood at year 1930
Sungai Kulai which previously was a clear flowing river with many kinds of aquatic life, however rainy season which held every year caused Xin Jie Chang to a frequent heavy flood that made a hard time to the locals. This hard situation does not end since the Japanese colonization (1941), followed by 1950, 1961, 1967 and 1980 with the water level between 2 to 8 feet height.