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3 mega projects Tun Mahathir said yes to


We zoom into the 3 mega projects he once signed off on and how far they’ve come since their inception. 

© 123rf

As part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s efforts to trim the national debt, he’s instituted the cancellation of a few mega-projects, namely the High-Speed Rail (HSR) line to Singapore and the MRT 3 Line with a host of others under ‘review’. This has led some to label him as having an agenda against mega projects.

But what most people may have forgotten is that under his initial spell as Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir launched and instituted many mega projects, a few which still stands today as beacons of Malaysia’s development in the last 20 years. We thought it would be a good idea to look back on three of these projects to see how they are doing years on.

1. Putrajaya

Some of you may not remember this but one of Tun M’s boldest mega projects was to shift the administrative capital of the Malaysian government from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya in 1999, becoming Malaysia’s third Federal Territory after KL and Labuan. There were initial hiccups, namely the haphazard go-ahead and subsequent cancellation of the Putrajaya Monorail project, less-than-ideal town planning and criticism of liveability. Besides government servants that worked in the administrative offices housed there, there weren’t any pull factors for others to live in Putrajaya.

FUN FACT: Putrajaya’s grand main trunk road, the 4.2 km long boulevard that links the Core Area precincts was inspired by the Champs Elysées in Paris. Other planned capitals were studied in the designing of Putrajaya including Canberra, Washington, D.C. and Chandigarh.

But fast forward nearly two decades later and the city’s liveability has improved tremendously. There are now over 25 schools and higher education centres in Putrajaya, a variety of parks complemented by an expansive network of bicycle lanes which has helped elevate Putrajaya’s vision to be a thriving and liveable township.

The city is abundant with monumental buildings boasting intricate architecture, exotic-looking bridges and wide, expansive streets. 37% of Putrajaya is dedicated to recreational parks and open spaces, hence families will not be left wanting when it comes to recreational activities. Notable schemes include:

  • 650-acre Putrajaya Park offering water sport and fishing activities;
  • Putrajaya Wetlands (first man-made wetlands in Malaysia)
  • Creatively-landscaped 230-acre Botanical Gardens
  • Equestrian Park,

Check out the feel of the city and some of its attractions here:

What’s more, locals get to brag about the Putrajaya Challenge Park (PCP), which is said to have the largest indoor climbing gym in Southeast Asia. Located in Precinct 5, PCP draws skating fans from far and wide as it boasts two other main attractions, namely a Skate Park and Thrill Park, which is specially designed for skateboarding, inline skating, BMX and stunt riders as well as a customised terrain mountain bike trail.

Providing a lifestyle and retail boost is the sprawling IOI City Mall, which houses over 400 of some of the top brands and F&B outlets. It is also home to the only Olympic-sized ice skating rink in Malaysia and an indoor post-apocalypse theme park called District 21!

The mall, launched in 2014, has started attracting not just the local residents to its premise but also people living in surrounding neighbourhoods such as Cyberjaya, Seri Kembangan, Kajang and Puchong. This has done a lot to increase Putrajaya’s attraction as a viable place to live in.

MORE: 9 beautiful parks in Klang Valley you should not miss

2. Cyberjaya

© Muhammad Faiz Zaki | 123rf

Launched way back in 1997 and once positioned as the ‘Malaysian Silicon Valley’, Cyberjaya has not quite developed the way Tun M may have intended it to but it certainly has developed tremendously. These days, Cyberjaya is host to most of the country’s largest shared services facilities, making it a hub of sorts for MNCs looking for competitively-priced real estate space to house large centralised workforces.

Cyberjaya is in fact, one of the primary locations for the global shared services and outsourcing (SSO) sector, ranked third only behind India and China. From a mere 21 pioneering companies, Cyberjaya is today home to more than 800 companies, of which 40 are global and regional MNCs including IBM, Dell and Hua Wei. 

Following suit, various amenities were gradually introduced to service Cyberjaya’s growing population – the town has its very own bus terminal, which bus routes connects it to popular surrounding suburbs of Bandar Tasik Selatan, Ampang, Gombak, Bandar Utama, Kepong, Shah Alam and Klang.

Meanwhile, the D’Pulze mall houses a TGV Cinema, a Jaya Grocer as well as pockets of business hubs across its sprawling landscape offering attractive and varied dining and lifestyle options. Home to 9 universities and colleges including Multimedia University (MMU) and Limkokwing University of Creative Sciences, Cyberjaya has also gained visibility as a leisure-friendly locale thanks to its well-constructed cycling routes and multi-purpose parks.

(Top) With a presence across Africa, Europe and Asia, the Limkokwing University has over 30,000 students from more than 150 countries in its main campus in Cyberjaya itself. (Bottom, left) The Cyberjaya Science Park – across the city’s 7,000 acres of land, 48% is reserved for public amenities and greenery, such as public parks and lakes. (Bottom, right) The Cyberjaya Mosque is the first Green Platinum Certificate mosque in Malaysia and can house up to 8,500 people at any given time. © 123rf

Here are three recent exciting updates about Cyberjaya that you might have missed:

1) Tun M says that MSC is to make an active comeback in Cyberjaya!
With the policy being realigned to its initial MSC objectives, our current prime minister expects more companies to invest their research laboratories and facilities in the city – so hurrah to more job opportunities.

2) Recently, BookXcess (the guys behind the popular Big Bad Wolf book sale) opened its first 24-hour bookstore in a massive 37,000sft space right in the heart of Cyberjaya.
Known as an alternative bookstore, BookXcess offers various good reads for a fraction of its market/retail price.

3) Cyberjaya launched its own internet radio station called eFM in November 2017. 
The 24-hour station features content crafted by entrepreneurs, where you are able to listen to captivating stories to business insights and trends aimed to mend the gap in Malaysia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem right down to energising music carefully selected to keep the entrepreneurial motivation flying high. Check it out on

Other upcoming catalysts include:

  • Sungai Buloh-Kajang-Putrajaya MRT Line which will see Cyberjaya receiving 2 MRT stations
  • The RM74 million Dengkil multi-level intersection, which will help solve traffic congestion woes. Currently, the road which connects Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kota Warisan is used by hundreds of motorists daily
  • Xiamen University Malaysia Campus in neighbouring Sepang, the first Chinese university branch campus in Malaysia
  • The Cyberjaya City Centre transit-oriented development which will feature a convention centre and hotel, office towers integrated with an MRT station, shopping mall and serviced apartments with retail outlets.

READ: 5 Things that prove Cyberjaya is more “Happening” than you think

3. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

© 123rf

Rounding up the list of mega projects that Tun M instituted during his first spell as Prime Minister is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which officially opened in 1998. This was after he announced that the Subang International Airport could no longer handle the future demand for air travel that would be in line with the nation’s developmental aspirations then. KLIA has since become a pride and joy of sorts for Malaysia.

Currently ranked the 23rd busiest airport in the world (2017), the KLIA is a state-of-the-art airport that is regarded as ‘world class’.

In hindsight, Tun Mahathir’s projections were spot on as KLIA’s rise has been synonymous with the explosion of travel demands thanks to offerings from low-cost carriers such as Air Asia, allowing our country to manage the increasing demand of more efficient air travel service.

Launched in 2014, klia2, purposed for low-cost carriers, houses an impressive 220 tenants and F&B outlets in over 350,000sqm of space, making it not just a destination for flights, but shopping as well. In 2017, the airport (both the main terminal, as well as klia2), serviced a staggering total of 58.5 million passengers, an increase of 11.2% from 2016, making it one of the key transportation hubs for travellers around the South East Asia Region.

With such robust activity and not forgetting the in-the-works KLIA Aeropolis, a 24,710-acre air logistics hub and a catalytic project which is part of Malaysia’ Digital Free Trade Zone initiative; it is not surprising why the towns neighbouring KLIA/klia2 such as Dengkil and Sepang have seen much interest from property developers looking to cater to the rising residential demand from homemakers and job seekers.

Has the talk of these three locales roused your interest in Cyberjaya and Putrajaya as well as neighbouring Sepang and Dengkil? Take a look at exciting new property launches here. 

Written by Adrian Yap | Edited by Reena Kaur Bhatt

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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