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Officiated in 1963, the Parliament building is currently undergoing its first major renovations. We take a look at the historical building before it makes its transition.
Entrance to the Parliament
Gazetted as a National Heritage Building in 2007 under the National Heritage Act, Malaysia’s Parliament Building stands proud on a 16.2 hectare site, previously known as West Foley Hill. The site was chosen for its strategic elevated location close to the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
At present, the Parliament Building is undergoing its first major renovation since it was officiated by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong III, Tuanku Syed Putra Al-Haj Ibni Al-Marhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail in November 1963.
First Parliamentary Meeting at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Hall on 11 September 1959 (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
On 11 September 1959, after the General Elections, the first Parliamentary meeting was held at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Hall in Jalan Ampang, now known as the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC).
Parliament under construction in 1962 (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
The country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj subsequently came up with the idea to construct a building that specifically served as Parliament House and symbolised Malaysia’s democratic system.
Parliament building completed in 1963 (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
The Parliament of Malaysia’s two main structures are the three-storey Main Block and the 17-storey Tower Block. There is also a Multi-Purpose Hall and the extensive renovations will see a few more blocks erected with the same unique façade.
The unique design of the Parliament Building
Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj decided on the 'tropical' pineapple look of the buildings. Its terrazzo panels and carved ornamental elements help to cut out the sun and keep the building cool.
First Parliamentary Meeting at the Parliament Building (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
The inaugural Parliamentary sitting at the Parliament House was held on 16 September 1963.
In honour of Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj
A statue was constructed in honour of Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and can be seen in front of the Tower Block.
The Parliament Deer Park
In the ‘80s, Indonesia’s President Suharto presented a pair of white-spotted axis-axis deers to Malaysia as a symbol of peace during a conflicted time. Axis-axis deers can still be seen in the Parliament’s deer park.
Archive Photo of Dewan Rakyat (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
Archive Photo of Dewan Negara (credit: Parliament Malaysia)
The Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) is situated under the 11 pinnacles of the Main Building. However, with major internal renovations taking place, the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara (Senate) have been temporarily moved to the Multi-Purpose Hall.
Current Dewan Rakyat in the Multi-Purpose Hall
The Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara share the same hall for the time being, with the space replicated to look like the original Dewan Rakyat. The Dewan Rakyat had its longest Parliament Session in history on 9 April 2015, ending at 4.21am the next day. A total of 12 bills were passed.
Since the first general elections, the number of seats in the House of Representatives was increased to 222 elected members from the initial 104 elected members.
The Main Block is on schedule to be completed by the end of January 2017.
Plans for the future
When the entire renovation works are completed, the Parliament of Malaysia is expected to be busier, with each MP having their own office in the compound. Existing offices will also be reorganised to streamline operations.
Works are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
By Stacy Liu
Photos by Stacy Liu
Archival images courtesy of Parliament Malaysia
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