KUANTAN: The new Sultan Ahmad Shah Administration Centre will become an iconic building that serves as an inspiration to others, says Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
His Majesty said he first proposed the building of the complex in Kota Sultan Ahmad Shah (KotaSAS) to his late father as the administration centre at Wisma Sri Pahang was old and facing maintenance problems.
"I felt it was time for the city of Kuantan to be enlarged... and more importantly solve the traffic congestion issue.
"Hopefully with the construction of KotaSAS as a satellite city, it can at least alleviate the pressure of congestion in Kuantan city," Al-Sultan Abdullah said at the centre's inauguration on Thursday (Dec 7).
His Majesty said the project was proposed to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former Pahang mentri besar Tan Sri Adnan Yaakob in 2016 and construction began in 2018.
"Unfortunately, construction was suspended from 2020 to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Today, we are informed that the project is about 80% to 90% complete and it has taken about six years to build, around the same duration as Wisma Sri Pahang," he said.
His Majesty added that the building concept was different as he wanted an ultra-modern concept that takes into account environmental, social and governance requirements for the future.
One of the long-term plans is to build a high-end mosque not far from the centre, to be sponsored by United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al Nahyan.
Al-Sultan Abdullah said an institute for Islamic knowledge was also being planned.
His Majesty also thanked Najib for agreeing to have an East Coast Rail Link station built in KotaSAS, as he had proposed, and not at Terminal Sentral Kuantan.
"I hope there will be more (development). Among them is the building of the police contingent headquarters here," he said.
His Majesty said he hoped there would also be more traffic diversion routes as congestion issues had become quite significant.
"It's not only in Kuantan but the whole country as well. I hope the relevant authorities, especially the Transport Ministry, can find new methods to reduce traffic congestion in Pahang towns, particularly in Kuantan city," he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the centre, with its design based on the Pahang coat of arms, was built at a cost of RM415mil.
"It is divided into four main blocks, where the state administration will be located. It will incorporate smart building applications that emphasise security characteristics such as a facial recognition system.
"Besides that, green technology and environmental conservation are also given prominence in its construction as decreed by His Majesty, who wants every building in the state to be built based on environmental, social and governance concepts," said Wan Rosdy.
He added that Wisma Sri Pahang's condition was now unsatisfactory and its upkeep was no longer economical.
"The addition of manpower has also made the Wisma Sri Pahang workspace crowded and uncomfortable," he said.
Wan Rosdy said he was confident that the Sultan Ahmad Shah Administration Centre would become a new landmark in the state, as well as a more conducive environment for civil servants that would lead to higher productivity and quality of work.