Malaysians know Putrajaya as the third Federal Territory of Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur and Labuan. On top of that, it’s also home to beautiful skyscrapers that can be seen from the surrounding highways. But do you really know the story behind Putrajaya and why the place remains an attractive location for many?
We’ve listed a few things that you may not know about Putrajaya. This may not be a tourism advertisement, but if you end up in Putrajaya this weekend, we are glad to have played a small part in enticing you to do so.
1. Named after Tunku Abdul Rahman
Let’s begin with one fact that lies right under our noses. Not a lot of people know that Putrajaya was named after our first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah. In Bahasa Malaysia, ‘Putra’ means ‘prince’ and ‘Jaya’ means success. Thus, the name Putrajaya symbolises the nation’s aspirations to celebrate and replicate the success of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who was indeed a member of the Kedah royal family.
2. ‘Putrajaya’ wasn’t its original name
The Putrajaya you know today used to be known by another name once upon a time. That name was ‘Prang Besar’, or in English, ‘the Great War’ and yes, it was named as a tribute to the First World War (that was known as the Great War back then). According to arabis.org, 900 acres of jungle land was granted to nine British soldiers that returned from WWI in 1921. As the acreage increased, the soldiers decided to open a company called Prang Besar Estate Ltd, that eventually turned into the name of the area. Prang Besar was mostly covered with palm trees, until it was chosen to be developed into the Federal Territory that we know today.
3. An alternative location for Putrajaya?
A different place altogether was reportedly proposed to be the location of Putrajaya. This location is a drive up north using the Karak Highway, and is known for its cheeky name: Janda Baik. A small village in Bentong, Pahang, about 30km from Kuala Lumpur, the area is known for its cool and breezy tropical climate (maybe not as cool as Genting Highlands). The village and Prang Besar were shortlisted as a Federal Territory, but the latter was eventually chosen due to the then brand new connection between KLIA and the latest highway.
4. A land of adventure: you can even soar like superheroes…on water!
In its early days, Putrajaya was perceived as lacking the attractions normally found in most major cities. Now, it has turned into a go-to destination for many extreme activities, including the Flyboard, which lets you ‘fly’ around the lake like Iron Man. People flock to Putrajaya on weekends to jog, skate and even take part in stand up paddling. You may want to check these activities out for a fun-filled time with your family and friends.
5. Umai Cafe: the minum petang secret that Putrajayans are hiding from you
Putrajayans love exercising at the city’s lakeside parks. What they love even more is having tea by the lake! One culinary institution that has been serving Putrajaya residents with a wide variety of local fare is Umai Cafe. Famous for its lempeng kelapa (coconut pancakes) and picturesque view, the reason why this cafe may be unknown to you is because Putrajaya folks may not be too keen to share their favourite spot; otherwise we will be crowding the place instead!
PS: Try the mee rebus, you won’t regret it!