December 01, 2012

Prince of Putrajaya

While spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur with some old friends from my Beijing days, we went on a drive to Putrajaya. Located 25km away from Kuala Lumpur, the planned city is meant to function as the administrative center of Malaysia's federal government. Putrajaya is like Canberra with flair, as the architecture blends Islamic motifs with modern design patterns.

The city is well laid out with wide roads and ample open spaces. The buildings primarily serve administrative, religious, or residential purposes, with the Putra Mosque and the Palace of Justice among my favourites. I did not see many areas set aside for commercial activity, but then that is not the primary motivation for the construction of this city. A neighbouring planned community called Cyberjaya will be geared towards enterprises.

First established in 1995, the idea behind the founding of Putrajaya was to relieve the congestion in overcrowded Kuala Lumpur by relocating the government servants to a nearby locale. It is named after Malaysia's first prime minister, but the literal translation of Putrajaya is prince's victory. As I saw my handsome visage reflecting on the shimmering waters of the lake in the middle of the city, there remained little doubt that a prince was indeed present.


"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself." – Alan Alda