Bandar Malaysia is back! But wait, what is this, where is it, and how does it have any impact on me?
No need to be puzzled by all the 'on again, off again' – we’re here to answer all your questions with engaging insight and a sprinkle of good humour!
We can’t guarantee the humour.
1) What is Bandar Malaysia?
Bandar Malaysia was (and is now once again) a pioneering multibillion RInggit property development first announced in 2011.
It was designed using the public-private partnership development model, with government agencies working alongside private partners to develop the huge 486-acre transit-oriented mixed development.
You read that right; the size of this monster development would make 1 Utama look like nothing more than a Lego toy!
Not only was Bandar Malaysia designed to be a visionary property development, it was also intended to be a major transport link as part of the long-planned Kuala Lumpur to Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR).
Think: gigantic office complexes, sprawling new commercial centres, shiny residential blocks, and Malaysia’s largest integrated transport hub.
2) Where is Bandar Malaysia?
The Bandar Malaysia development area is located at the site of the Sungai Besi Airport (also known as Sempang Airport), to the southeast of Kuala Lumpur.
Quick trivia: this is the first airport to serve KL, and was the only one to be located within the coveted boundaries of the WPKL address!
This prime development location is just a short drive from the Brickfields neighbourhood, strategically positioned between KLCC to the north and Sri Petaling to the south.
3) So, why was Bandar Malaysia cancelled?
In May 2017, the old government called off the deal to sell the stake to the Malaysia-China consortium, IWH-CREC, over the failure of the purchasing parties to fulfil payment obligations.
In addition, the project remained in a limbo for some time due to a sweeping programme of financial reform and cost-cutting exercises.
Brought in by Malaysia’s new government, spearheaded by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, these exercises were necessary to try and cut Malaysia's massive debt of approximately RM1 trillion!
With major projects such as the HSR, East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), and Bandar Malaysia itself posing a substantial financial commitment, the decision was made to review certain projects.
This was in order to reassess and recalculate to see if there was a possibility to finance the projects in a more sustainable way.
It all makes sense when you think about it! If you inherit a commitment to spend billions of Ringgit, you'd probably want to take a good look at where every last cent is going before you hand over your wallet.
4) And now, Bandar Malaysia has been reinstated?
We get your confusion. But you see, one of the major concerns about the Bandar Malaysia project was that such high value work could be outsourced to major foreign companies.
On one hand, the new government was keen to ensure that foreign support and expertise was a necessary part of the project.
But on the other hand, it had to be ensured that local companies would reap the greatest possible benefit from the substantial construction work required.
With a new negotiation undertaken, the Bandar Malaysia contract was awarded to the IWH-CREC consortium (which had won the bid originally) in April 2019.
Now that the comprehensive review has been undertaken and completed, the government is happy that this joint venture will provide suitable opportunity for local Malaysian companies as well.
Of course, the continued efforts of Malaysia and China to improve and enhance their bilateral relations is also a helpful consideration, moving forward with this venture.
5) But what's changed about Bandar Malaysia?
As one of the nation’s most impressive urban developments, the Malaysian government is committed to ensuring it offers a substantial benefit for the people.
That means readjusting the original designs to meet the contemporary needs of the country’s citizens.
Bandar Malaysia will now include 10,000 affordable housing units, helping to meet the substantial demand for affordable housing in the Kuala Lumpur area.
Alongside these units, a pioneering People’s Park will be created to add a social dimension to the space.
The development will also include bumiputra participation throughout the project, with priority for local content and materials.
The gross development value (GDV) of this pioneering project is now expected to reach RM140 billion. That’s almost half the total GDP of Malaysia in 2017, all for a single urban development!
It’s also expected to accelerate job creation across the supply chain, and provide a stimulus for local construction companies and material suppliers.
Another key element that has been addressed is the contentious issue of payments. When you’re talking billions of Ringgit, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
IWH-CREC will make an advanced payment of RM500 million, on top of the original sum of RM741 million paid, within 60 days of the project being reinstated.
The first phase will see the development of several Grade A office towers, serviced apartments, luxury residences and hotels across 20.23ha in four years.
Construction works have commenced since June 2021, reflecting the developers’ confidence that the project will spur the country’s economy.
6) What’s happening with Bandar Malaysia in 2021?
In September 2020, the RM1.24 billion settlement that was owed to the federal government from the project’s master developer IWH-CREC, was made.
This marked their 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia, and for work on Bandar Malaysia to finally begin.
Fast forward to 2021, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project was unfortunately terminated due to the inability for Malaysia and Singapore to find common ground on certain terms.
As a transit-oriented development, the HSR was a key part of Bandar Malaysia. But all’s not lost, as the first phase of the integrated development remains underway!
With a gross development value (GDV) of about RM10 million, the first phase of infrastructure development currently involves the construction of several highways and roads, as well as the installation of water and power supply.
7) What are the highlights of Bandar Malaysia?
As if almost 500 acres of prime property development wasn’t enough, Bandar Malaysia also promises a visionary new hub of integrated transport for Malaysia.
It’s going to be the shiny focal point of public transport we’ve all dreamed of, with the following:
Integrated public transport
Bandar Malaysia will include links for KTM Komuter, Mass Rapid Transport (MRT), and Express Rail Link services.
This is going to be like KL Sentral decided to take steroids, and levelled up to something extraordinary.
Bandar Malaysia had originally been designed as a transport hub for the much-anticipated KL-Singapore High Speed Rail line, but hit uncertainties when there was a change in government.
With it now revived, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has indicated that the mega project would kick off soon, we'll definitely be seeing a HSR station (albeit with a slower train!).
UPDATE: The HSR has since been terminated. Read more here.
Let’s face it, 10,000 affordable homes just a short drive from KLCC and right next to a major transport hub is going to be transformational.
Get your name on the shortlist as soon as you hear of one! (Note: there’s no shortlist yet).
Major investment location
With its pioneering development credentials, the hope is that Bandar Malaysia becomes a major investment location.
It's not just big companies looking for a part of this mighty and large construction pie, but global Fortune 500 companies and major institutions looking to acquire offices in what is sure to be one of Malaysia’s premium locations.
World’s largest underground city
The China Railway Group, master developer of Bandar Malaysia has plans to build the world’s largest underground city right here in Malaysia.
Inspired by the Canadian city of Montreal which spans 4 million square metres, the city is said to consist of a subterranean shopping mall, canals, financial centre, indoor theme parks and other recreational facilities.
Safety and sustainability
Bandar Malaysia aspires to achieve GBI (Green Building Index) Platinum Township accreditation, an environmental rating system by the Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM).
A security master plan is also set to be employed with the latest CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles.