The new city of Putrajaya, 40 km south of Kuala Lumpur city centre, was declared administrative capital of Malaysia on 4 June 1999. The city is named for Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman Putra, the first premier of Malaysia; ‘jaya’ means ‘success’.
The Malaysian government began the search for a suitable location for a new administrative capital in the 1980s. A site was found in 1993 and the project was launched in 1995, during an economic boom. Work started on the construction of an ‘Intelligent City’, in which administration would be electronically-based, and a twin city, called Cyberjaya. The twin cities were envisaged as part of a 50 km-long multimedia corridor.
In 1998–99 construction ground to a halt as economic boom gave way to economic crisis. However, in June 1999 Putrajaya became administrative capital and the staff of the prime minister’s office transferred to their new headquarters. The vast majority of Malaysia’s government ministries had relocated to Putrajaya by 2012. The project has been dismissed as grandiose by the Malaysian opposition, which has disputed the need for the new capital.
On 1 Feb. 2001 Putrajaya was removed from Selangor state and became Malaysia’s third federal territory.
Putrajaya is planned as a ‘garden city’ built around a 4.2 km ceremonial boulevard. Lakes have been created by damming rivers, and there are lush botanic gardens. There will be 15 neighbourhoods for a population of 330,000.
Places of Interest
Few major buildings have been completed. The Dataran Putra (Putra Grounds), a large park surrounding the central lake, is partly constructed. The Masjid Putra (Putra Mosque) is imposing, with a minaret that rises 116 m. The Seri Perdana (prime minister’s official residence) has been completed and may be visited when there are no official functions.