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Malaysia began casting around for a new Federal Administrative Centre away from Kuala Lumpur two decades ago. Various sites were identified and five were short-listed. After toying with setting up shop in the neighboring state of Pahang, Mahathir settled on the southern Prang Besar district of Selangor state in June 1993 and launched the project in 1995, naming it after and in memory of Malaysia's first prime minister, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. This site was chose in view of its strategic location between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). A champion of billion-dollar construction projects, he tagged the capital's name with the suffix "jaya," which means "success." Putrajaya is conceived and planned for and by Malaysians and is one of two "intelligent" cities under the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project, a 15-by-50 km (9-by-31 mi) technology zone. Malaysia has high hopes for its new federal capital interlinked with fiber optic cable and dotted with minarets.
February 1, 2001
On February 1, 2001, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared Malaysia's new administrative capital of Putrajaya a Federal Territory. A ceremony to hand over control of the Putrajaya township on Kuala Lumpur's southern verge from Selangor state authorities to the federal government coincided with the annual Federal Territory Day holiday. Putrajaya, a sprawling 4,580-hectare (11,300-acre) metropolis of landscaped gardens and domed buildings is Malaysia's third federal territory. The others are Kuala Lumpur, the country's largest city with of 1.4 million people, and the eastern city of Labuan. The ceremony was the latest step in a plan to shift Malaysia's seat of government from Kuala Lumpur to the showpiece township, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Kuala Lumpur.
June 4, 1999
Malaysia's government unveiled its massive new capital June 4th,1999, touting it as the salvation for the country's battered economy and a shining example of its grand vision for the future. About 300 staff from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's office moved into Malaysia's sprawling grand new administrative capital in Putrajaya on Tuesday (Jun 1st). The number is expected to increase to 2,800 by the end of the year and 16,000 by 2005. Other government ministries will gradually relocate to Putrajaya over the next five years. Amid an economic slump and charges of overspending, work goes on to turn a dense palm oil plantation into Malaysia's multi-billion dollar administrative capital.
Construction began in August of 1995 and it was touted as Malaysia's biggest real-estate project and one of South-East Asia's largest. Built during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and opened in 1999, Putrajaya has been criticized by the Malaysian opposition as an example of Mahathir's extravagant ways and an obsession with grandeur. It is expected to be completed in 2010. As the clock ticks, construction workers are pressing feverishly to complete the first phase of Malaysia's new capital by the first week of June 1999, when Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his government will uproot itself and move into the "garden city" utopia starting a gradual exodus of hundreds of thousands of civil servants. Only 10 percent of the building material will be imported and the entire project had been designed and constructed by Malaysian companies. Government departments, including Mahathir's office, have moved into Putrajaya under a plan to have all government employees working from and perhaps living there by mid-2002. Putrajaya will take another 15 years to complete. Most of the government is expected to move in by 2005.
LOCATION AND COST
The scale of the Putrajaya project is grandiose. Putrajaya sits on a magnificent 4,581 hectares in Sepang, Selangor, within the MSC. Putrajaya is located 25km south of the old capital city of Kuala Lumpur and 20km north of the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang. It will be the most accessible city in Malaysia. You can reach Putrajaya using expressways, urban highways and rail. Putrajaya will be developed as a 37,000-acre Garden City metropolis - about 3/4 the size of Manhattan - with intelligent features focusing on the preservation of its 'eco-culture'. The first of three phases will cost about US$1.3bn. The final cost is projected to be US$8.1bn. Map.
Satellite Map of Putrajaya
OTHER FACTS & FIGURES
The new city will provide for approximately 330,000 people in 52,000 housing units equipped with modern amenities. It will function as the principal seat of government where 76,000 staff will occupy 16mn sq ft of floor space and ultimately 135,000 people will be working in Putrajaya's sleek new office complexes. Stylishly designed buildings where government offices will be housed now sit along the fringes of the partly completed Dataran Putra (Putra Grounds), surrounded by a massive man-made lake. It was envisioned that Putrajaya, where nearly every major federal agency will have its headquarters, can also attract banks, securities houses and media organizations weary of Asia's more congested capitals. 85 embassies will be moved to a diplomatic enclave in the northern end of Putrajaya.
It will be served by advanced communications and transportation infrastructure. There will also be a golf course, sports stadium, cultural center and shopping malls, as well as a giant man-made lake surrounding the city center, complete with a floating mosque. The pink-domed Putra mosque - boasting one of the world's tallest minarets at 380 ft (116m) - will house 15,000 worshippers and a museum for rare copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book.
Eventually, Putrajaya expects high-tech schools, fishing grounds, jogging paths and artificial lakes. Some of the finer details are already there: futuristic street lamps, irrigation ditches dug into grassy knolls to prevent erosion, and viewing platforms built on hills. The government has allotted more than $526 million to build schools, health care facilities and public amenities in Putrajaya over the next decade. Fiber-optic cable is being laid beneath the streets, and residents will be able to have Internet access and other electronic-superhighway conveniences.
Proponents of Putrajaya that argue a new city is essential to ease the urban sprawl of Kuala Lumpur, where roads are dug up daily to upgrade sewage, drainage and water supply systems for a growing population. They say the high-tech metropolis, which boasts a dozen parks and jogging paths, will boost the morale of civil servants.
The new city will eventually be part of a 9- by 30-mile stretch of high-tech companies that Malaysia envisions as Southeast Asia's version of California's Silicon Valley. It is strategically placed as the center node of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
A Structure Plan encompassing an area of 14,780 hectares was prepared with the concurrence of the Selangor State Government in order to guide the development of Putrajaya and its surrounding areas. The Structure Plan area will accommodate an estimated population of 570,000 people, of which 250,000 will live within Putrajaya.
Concurrently a Master Plan was prepared, focusing on the development of Putrajaya, covering on area of 4,400 hectares, This includes the Core Area, the neighborhoods, parklands and other supporting facilities. An estimated 76,000 public sector and 59,000 private sector employees will work within Putrajaya.
NOTE: A large portion of the material in the following pages were derived from the Perbadanan Putrajaya Interactive Information System website at www.putrajaya.net.my.