Vision is what the nation's all about

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 August, 1996, 12:00am

Towering nearly 500 metres above the Malaysian capital, the Petronas Towers will be the world's tallest buildings.

Opening this year, the towers are the centrepiece of a purpose-built 'intelligent' city centre that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad envisages will give Kuala Lumpur even greater standing in the eyes of the world.

This national nerve-centre will be linked to a new commuter system for the capital, the longest fully automated network of its kind in the world.

The first phase of the multi-billion-dollar Light Rail Transit network will open this year - with the 40-kilometre system due for completion next year.

Nearby, the skyline is pierced by KL Tower, which, at 421 metres, is the third tallest communication structure in the world.

It is a symbol of Malaysia's determination to embrace the hi-tech era.

Meanwhile, hot on the heels of Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok, a US$3-billion state-of-the-art Kuala Lumpur International Airport is scheduled to open in 1998.

In addition, a futuristic $8-billion 'intelligent' city is being built 25 kms from the capital. When Putrajaya (named after the country's first prime minister) opens in 1998, the entire government will be moving.

So will countless corporations and a resident population of 250,000.

Dr Mahathir, the visionary behind these projects, predicts the Garden City, complete with man-made lakes and hi-tech links to the world, will eventually emerge as a 'mega-city' comparable to Tokyo-Yokohama.

Vision is what modern Malaysia is all about. Indeed, the buzz word of the nation is Vision 2020 - Dr Mahathir's grand plan to catapult what was not long ago a backward economy into a full-fledged industrialised nation by 2020.

It is taking shape at lightning pace and the capital of the future, encompassing Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Putrajaya and the new airport, is being billed as a 'Multimedia Super Corridor' of Southeast Asia. Dr Mahathir sees this high-growth region as a multimedia catalyst centre.