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Tuesday November 14, 2006

New, bigger Istana Negara


KUALA LUMPUR: A new RM400mil palace complex will be built in Jalan Duta to replace the Istana Negara that has been used since 1928. 

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said work on the new Istana Negara, to be built on a 96.52ha site atop a hill, will start next June and was slated for completion in 2009. 

“We need a new palace with bigger space. Currently, the Balai Rong Seri of Istana Negara is also used as dining and meeting rooms. One room for multiple use is just inadequate,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the palace project at Jalan Duta here yesterday. 

The ceremony was launched by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail. 

ROYAL HOME: The King taking a closer look at a model of the new Istana Negara during the groundbreaking ceremony for the palace project at Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. With him are (from left) Abdullah, Najib, Samy Vellu, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Cabinet members were also present. 

Samy Vellu said the new Istana Negara, steeped in Islamic and Malay architectural designs, had been on the drawing board nine months ago. 

“It will not be the largest palace as there are larger ones around but will be one suitable for a country like Malaysia,” he added. 

He said the fate of the present Istana Negara would be determined by the Prime Minister’s Department. It is learnt it had been proposed as a royal museum. 

Kumpulan Seni Reka Sdn Bhd has been appointed the architect for the new palace and Maya Maju Sdn Bhd as the building contractor. 

Samy Vellu said the site for the new palace had been gazetted for the purpose 30 years ago. 

In his briefing to the King, Public Works Department director-general Dr Amer Hamzah Mohd Yunus said only 28ha would be developed into the new Istana Negara complex while the rest would be a garden area. 

“The existing forest will also be retained as a security zone. The forest reserve will developed into a garden and will be opened to the public for recreational purposes,” he said, referring to a request from the King that a garden be developed for the public. 

The new Istana Negara complex will comprise the palace building, supporting buildings, housing for palace staff, police, security office, mini army camp and a double-storey entrance from Jalan Duta and a parking area. 

The complex will have a floor area of 75,000sq metres, excluding the parking area, and will be divided into four wings. 

The site of the present Istana Negara in Jalan Istana here used to be home to a millionaire named Chan Wing in 1928. 

After the Japanese occupation, it was converted into a palace for the Sultan of Selangor until 1957, when the federal government took over and turned it into Istana Negara. – Bernama 

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