Putrajaya is a planned city, located south of Kuala Lumpur, that serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. The seat of government was shifted in 1999 from Kuala Lumpur due to the overcrowding and congestion there. Nevertheless, Kuala Lumpur remains as Malaysia’s national capital and also as the commercial and financial centre. Putrajaya was the brainchild of a former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad who was in power then. In 2001, Putrajaya was made a Federal Territory, increasing the number of federal territories to three. Kuala Lumpur and Labuan are the other two.
Named after the first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra the city is situated within the Multimedia Super Corridor, beside the also newly developed Cyberjaya. The development started in 1995 and today major landmarks are completed and the population is expected to grow in the relatively new city.
History and design
The vision to have a new Federal Government Administrative Centre to replace Kuala Lumpur as the administrative capital emerged in the late 1980s, during the tenure of Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad. The new city was proposed to be located between Kuala Lumpur and the new KL International Airport (KLIA).
The Federal government negotiated with the state of Selangor on the prospect of another Federal Territory and in the mid-1990s, the Federal government paid a substantial amount of money to Selangor for approximately 11 320 acres (46 km²) of land in Prang Besar, Selangor. As a result of this land purchase, the state of Selangor now completely surrounds two Federal Territories within its borders, namely Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
Planned as the garden and intelligent city, 38% of the area is reserved for green areas by emphasizing the enhancement of natural landscape. A network of open spaces and wide boulevards were incorporated to the plan. Construction began in August 1995 and it was Malaysia’s biggest project and one of Southeast Asia’s largest with estimated final cost of US$ 8.1 billion. The entire project was designed and constructed by Malaysian companies with only 10% of the materials imported.
The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/1998 had somewhat slowed the development of Putrajaya. In 1999, 300 staffs of the Prime Minister’s office were shifted to Putrajaya and the remaining government servants moved in 2005. On February 1, 2001 Tun Dr. Mahathir declared Putrajaya as a Federal Territory with the ceremony of handing over Putrajaya township from the Selangor state authorities.
In 2002, a high speed rail link called KLIA Transit was opened, linking Putrajaya to both Kuala Lumpur and KL International Airport in Sepang. However, construction of the Putrajaya Monorail which was intended to be the city’s metro system, was suspended due to costs. One of the monorail suspension bridges in Putrajaya remains unused.
In 2007, the population of Putrajaya was estimated to be over 30,000, which comprised mainly government servants.