Despite the global economic gloom, Malaysia is pushing ahead to build a new financial district within the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
To be developed over the next 15 years, the project is expected to generate a gross development value of about $8 billion.
The plans for the new financial district were unveiled by Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak on Tuesday.
Named after his late father, who was Malaysia’s second prime minister, the Tun Razak Exchange will be developed in phases across 70 acres of prime land, within walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers.
Najib said Malaysia’s economic success is by no means an accident.
“Against the challenging global backdrop, no country can easily buck the global trends,” he said.
“Our success over the last couple of months, including Felda Global Venture Holdings and IHH Healthcare recording the world’s second- and third-largest IPO, has not come by accident. Instead, this is the result of steady economic stewardship.”
The exchange targets to attract 250 leading companies and create 500,000 jobs when completed.
The first phase scheduled to be ready in 2016 has already won more than $1 billion in foreign direct investment.
While showcasing his leadership to transform the country, Najib hopes that the Tun Razak Exchange will springboard Kuala Lumpur to be one of top 20 livable cities in the world.
The new district promises high speed connectivity, and a seamless link to transport and services with enhanced security.
Tadashi Maeda, head of infrastructure finance at Japan Bank of International Cooperation, said: “A real smart city should be linked by a smart grid, the entire city, transmission system to transmission with IT, otherwise it’s not real smart city, just the fancy type of building complex.”
1MDB, the state owned development board, has been tasked to develop the entire project.
It is currently in talks with several parties to come on board as partners.
1MDB plans to announce its first foreign strategic partner next month.