Flashback #Star50: The birth of Putrajaya


IT was not a case of “moving house”. It was the shifting of a government administration from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya.

A new chapter began on June 21,1999 when the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad clocked-in at Perdana Putra.

Since April of that year, staff of the Prime Minister’s Department had been gradually moving into the spanking new building at the heart of the country’s new administrative capital.

The brainchild of Dr Mahathir, the idea of a planned city came about due to the increasing traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur.

The creation of Putrajaya would relocate all the government offices that were scattered around Kuala Lumpur into one major administrative hub.

When the construction of Putrajaya began in August 1995, it was Malaysia’s biggest project and also deemed as one of South-East Asia’s largest.

Bernama, in a report in June 1999, quoted Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd as stating that the funding for the development of Putrajaya stood at RM5bil then with the private sector footing most of it.

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Although Putrajaya is designated as the federal administrative capital, Kuala Lumpur remains the capital city where the Parliament House and Istana Negara are sited.

Today, a majority of the government’s ministerial buildings are located in Putrajaya.

It also houses the official Prime Minister’s residence as well as the Federal Court.

On Feb 1,2001, Putrajaya was declared the country’s third federal territory after Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.

“Putrajaya has come a long way. It is no longer merely a ‘government city’ where people come here for official purposes only, ” said The Star’s deputy news editor Mazwin Nik Anis, who has been based in Putrajaya for the past six years.

“It is now home to close to 100,000 people, partly because almost all ministries are now based here, ” she said.

And it has also become a place where people come for sporting and recreational activities.

“On weekends, cyclists and running enthusiasts will make use of the wide and relatively empty roads and challenging terrains to test their physical abilities, ” she said.

“Its well-manicured parks (there are 13 parks!) are also the reason why people come to Putrajaya. It is a perfect place for picnics, family and group activities and photo shoots, ” she said.

Mazwin pointed out that the scenic views of the Putra Mosque, the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, the bridges and the Putrajaya Lake (particularly at sunset) were another captivating point for visitors.

“What I like about Putrajaya is that every corner you turn, it is clean. There’s no rubbish on the ground, food courts and roadside kiosks are clear of food remnants and the landscape is well-maintained.”

She is hopeful that with the MRT Putrajaya Line providing better connectivity and greater public access, more people would put Putrajaya on their “to go” list.

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