KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today opened two facilities at the 131-year-old Perdana Botanical Gardens, making it a complete recreational park with elements of research, education and conservation.
The prime minister planted an evergreen Kembang Semangkuk (Scaphium linearicarpum) sapling as a symbolic gesture of the opening of the Visitors Complex and Ethnobotany Park as the added attractions of the gardens.
Dr Mahathir, accompanied by Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh and Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, went on a tour of the facilities and was given a briefing on the transformation of the park that was opened in 1888.
The two facilities are the final elements of the second-phase upgrading of the botanical gardens, and were completed last April.
The Visitors Complex houses a herbarium as a research centre; an interpretation centre as an information centre; a briefing room and a souvenir shop.
The Ethnobotany Park was developed as part of the conservation programme of the gardens and showcases over 100 species of trees which have many uses, including as food, medicines and beauty products.
Nor Hisham, when approached by reporters, said the third and final phase of upgrading – the setting up of the bunga raya (hibiscus) and orchid gardens – is expected to be completed in 2022.
“We hope that this park will provide a better quality of life to the people here,” he said.
He said the total cost of upgrading the park, including the first phase which was completed in 2010, is about RM80 million.
The Perdana Botanical Gardens, the brainchild of British Resident A.R. Venning, started as the Sydney Lake in 1888.
It was upgraded in 1975 by the second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and renamed the Perdana Lake Gardens. In 2011, it was again renamed – this time to Perdana Botanical Gardens.
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