KUALA LUMPUR: The park behind the National Monument, better known as the Tugu Negara, will undergo a radical transformation, courtesy of the Taman Tugu project by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
Launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) project is part of Khazanah's 25th anniversary celebration slated for 2019.
The transformation of the Tugu Negara will see a collaboration between Khazanah and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, supported by other agencies including the Federal Territories Ministry, Economic Planning Unit, Public-Private Partnership Unit, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and non-governmental organisation Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).
Najib said the first phase of the RM650 million project is expected to be ready by mid-2018.
It complements the 11th Malaysia Plan as well as Greater Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley initiatives to transform KL into a world-class city by 2020, by among others, enhancing its pedestrian network.
"This marks an historic day as we witness a new episode in the Tugu Negara, which is a symbol of Merdeka being achieved through the blood, sweat and tears of our heroes.
"We must not only safeguard that, but also preserve nature and provide a tropical forest in the city so that Taman Tugu will be synonymous with Kuala Lumpur like Hyde Park and Central Park are to London and New York City.
"Members of the public are welcome to give their suggestions, including on the name of the park," he said in his speech today.
Taman Tugu, said Najib, will be run by a public trust to ensure that it will remain as a 'city rainforest' and enjoyed by Malaysians for generations to come.
Apart from being a nature conservation effort, the project, which spans an area of 26.7ha (66 acres), would also have recreational facilities for visitors including a playground, waterpark, camping site, jogging track and event spaces.
It will also offer a learning environment with facilities such as a Rainforest Education Centre. Taman Tugu will also feature food and beverage outlets once completed.
Public views and suggestions can be made through an online questionnaire available at www.tamantugu.com.my.