The ambitious 486-acre Bandar Malaysia development project is set to get a “jump-start” from the Pakatan government after it was announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He claims the government has changed their views on the previously stalled project.
Bandar Malaysia’s exposure in media outlets soared when its revival was announced in April.
However, the project will derail a little from its initial plans. Tun M said the construction of a high-speed railway (HSR) connecting KL to Singapore will be put on hold, citing its urgency as minimal and unnecessary at the moment. He sees the improvement of existing railway systems as a priority.
Other changes made were to include 10,000 affordable homes (previously only 5,000 homes were planned), a public park, bumiputera participation in the project, and also prioritising the use of local content and material for its development.
Another justification for revitalising the project is it hopes to draw in investments from international financial institutions, multinational and Fortune 500 companies.
Since the announcement came from Tun M himself, it was expected to see his name on the top of the influencers list.
Economic Affairs Minister Mohamad Azmin Ali announced the project will not be fully funded by the government, but an open tender from private sectors will be offered. He stated this was a strategic move to attract international investors.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin also pitched in, giving more in-depth details about the project. She said the houses planned in Bandar Malaysia will cater to first-time home owners and low-income youths with a price cap of RM300,000 mostly on a rent-to-own basis, including a park similar to Hyde Park in London.
Despite this economically exciting news, economic experts are claiming the mega-project’s development should grow according to Malaysia’s socio-economic status.
Professor Dr Barjoyai Bardai has said that government linked companies (GLC) should step up to own the project. He also claims the project must align with sustainable development goals and prioritise the improvement of the surrounding environment.
The Bandar Malaysia project was announced in 2011 under former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration. In 2015, the Finance Ministry sold 60 percent of its stake to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corp Sdn Bhd, but the sale was called off after purchasing parties failed to fulfil their payment obligations in 2017.