Kota Baru (kōtˈə bärˈō) [key] or Kota Baharu kōtˈə bəhärˈō, city (1990 est. pop. 215,000), capital of Kelantan state, Malaysia, central Malay Peninsula, on the South China Sea at the mouth of the Kelantan River. It has an important power station. It was seized by Japan (Dec. 10, 1941) early in the campaign against Singapore during World War II.