Bandar Malaysia is set to become the world’s most well-connected city. Yesterday, three landmark agreements were signed between Ministry of Finance Incorporated, Johor-China consortium IWCH-CREC Sdn Bhd and other parties. It will become a regional commercial hub, if not a global one. It will, too, become a regional transportation hub going south, connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore via the High-Speed Rail (HSR) link, a journey that will take a mere 90 minutes. Going north will be another HSR link that will reach Bangkok and beyond. Locally, it will be a multimodal transportation hub, with rail and tram links, and a road network not unlike KL Sentral, where every road, rail and bus link converges and disperses.

Located in Sungai Besi, it is a 196.7ha mixed urban development intended as a catalyst for the transformation of Greater Kuala Lumpur. In its latest envisaged incarnation, it is designed to be a world-class integrated city, where commerce, leisure and living happen, again, not unlike KL Sentral, but on a much grander scale; globally linked to the Pan-Asia Railway Network that connects to Beijing and, most importantly, the New Silk Route, which China is developing in cooperation with Russia, Iran, India and most countries in the Eurasian continent. In short, an integrated HSR system will provide land links, thus, shrinking Earth’s largest land mass, Eurasia. That it will become the heart of Asean is not an exaggeration. Bandar Malaysia will be its transport dispersal and convergence centre, making it an attractive home for the regional headquarters of multinational corporations. As a major shareholder, China Railway Group Ltd (CREC) intends to build its regional centre, worth US$2 billion (RM8 billion), in Bandar Malaysia. This brings total Chinese foreign direct investment in Malaysia to new heights. CREC, with its joint-venture partner, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, which has interest held by Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, paid RM7.41 billion to acquire a 60 per cent equity in Bandar Malaysia.

The metropolis will have canals, lakes and a green belt that takes it to 16.2ha — a central park acting as a green lung. It will also house medical and international education hubs. Culture will be a large feature, reflecting Malaysia’s multicultural character. A sunken plaza will be the centre of the Bandar Malaysia integrated underground city, with pedestrian walkways leading to a theme park, a music theatre, and cultural and heritage venues. Ample parking bays and a 20km electric train route make the underground city a natural leisure and recreational centre. Cutting to the chase, Bandar Malaysia will be a modern mega city, featuring cutting-edge technology, whether green or cyber, which makes it a natural as a global business and financial centre. However, that is the physical infrastructure. To realise this vision, there needs to be a transformed mentality of efficiency, honesty and dedication among Malaysians. The people must share the dream if the intended harvest is to be reaped. “We build the future.”