After a good night’s rest followed by a hearty breakfast at the Prince Hotel & Residence, we departed for my first ever Putrajaya tour to check out attractions such as the Putra Mosque, Palace of Justice, Tuanku Mizan’s (Iron) Mosque, Prime Minister’s Office and while not the residence of the current Prime Minister, we visited the original Sri Perdana where Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, and one of the longest-serving leaders in Asia, Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad lived from 1983 to 1999.
Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (Iron Mosque)
Officially opened on Friday at the eve of the month of Ramadhan 1430 Hijrah, the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, or Iron Mosque is the second principal mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia after Putra Mosque. The official name of Iron Mosque is Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque. The name of the mosque was derived from the fact that it was built using approximately 6,000 tonnes of steel contributing to seventy percent of the entire building while the rest is concrete. The mosque is able to accommodate up to 20,000 people at one time. The RM208mil mosque catered to 20,000 worshippers and was completed on time. 565,408 tourists visited the Putra Mosque in 2008.
The Galeria Sri Perdana was the official residence of Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, from 23 August 1983 to 18 October 1999. Tun Dr Mahatir was the first Malaysian Prime Minister I had met in person at the ASEAN-EC International HRD Convention in 2005 before meeting Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi also at the Brunei International Convention Centre. In keeping with the principle of heritage conservation, the original design and layout of the Sri Perdana has been preserved. We had a for-your-eyes-only tour of the entire residence as photography isn’t permitted beyond the art gallery.
Our visit to Galeria Sri Perdana coincided with the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival or (or MCAT 2010) which aims at targeting more high-yield tourists to come to Malaysia. The event was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin on July 3, 2010. During Tun Dr Mahatir’s tenure as Premier, he spearheaded the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ campaign, the country developed at an astonishing pace and this is reflected heavily in the contemporary arts. Had we stayed longer, I would have loved to attend at least one of the 3 MCAT seminars: The influence of Mahatirism on Contemporary Malaysian Art.
MCAT 2010 is aimed at establishing Malaysia as a reputable destination for art aficionados in the region to enjoy and acquire contemporary art, with museum-quality pieces. It is also hoped to encourage owners of art galleries to launch new pieces by young artists that will set the trend for the next few years. — Tourism Malaysia
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