KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s cities and urban centres should avoid becoming “concrete jungles”, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“It has to have character and be culturally and technologically vibrant,” the Prime Minister said when launching the Asean-China Ministerial Roundtable on Construction and Housing 2024 here on Wednesday. (July 3)

He said being culturally vibrant meant displaying building designs that reflect the nation’s cultural diversity, including that of the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak.

“It would be shameful if we don’t consider this,” the Prime Minister said.

He added that cities or urban centres should also be environmentally sustainable and digitally sound.

Anwar said that cities or urban centres must also cater to the housing needs of the less fortunate.

“It should consider the needs of all sectors so that we don’t end up like A Tale of Two Cities, where one sector is for the very rich and one for the poor and downtrodden.

“There must be a tale of ‘One City’ that is inclusive, ” he said.

Later, at a press conference, Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming said a framework for Malaysia Identity of Architecture is being drafted to incorporate local designs in public buildings.

He said a design contest for developing new markets under the ministry and local councils above RM15mil was recently implemented.

“The winning designs will be adopted for the building, and they will be hired as consultants,” he said.

He cited the RM24mil project to develop the Bukit Mertajam Wet Market as an example where local cultural and historical features are highlighted.

He also said that the Malaysian Institute of Architects and Board of Architects Malaysia have set up a committee to fine-tune a framework for a “Malaysian Identity Architecture”.

Earlier, Anwar launched the 23rd International Architecture, Interior Design, and Building Exhibition, which was also held in conjunction with the event.

The Prime Minister also witnessed the exchange of letters of interest from PR1MA Communications Snd Bhd and Huawei Technologies (M) Sdn BHD.

The move aims to integrate Huawei’s smart devices into PR1MA developments.

Also present at the events was the Republic of China’s Housing and Urban-Rural Development Minister Ni Hong.