KUALA LUMPUR: The new royal residence along Jalan Duta here is 70% complete and is on track to be completed by November 2010, according to an official with the Public Works Department.

The official, who spoke to theedgeproperty.com on condition of anonymity, said the building would comprise a main building and “more than 10” auxiliary buildings including guardhouses, public toilets and utility buildings.

The official could neither confirm nor deny claims that the cost of building the palace had ballooned beyond its original RM400 million budget to RM1.1 billion, as claimed by PAS’ information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar in a report in the online news portal Malaysiakini in August 2007.

Architect firm Kumpulan Seni Reka Sdn Bhd declined to comment on the progress of the palace while building contractor Maya Maju Sdn Bhd were unavailable for comment.

According to Bernama reports from 2006, the new palace will sit on a 241.3 acre (96.52 ha) site on top of a hill and has been in the pipeline for over a decade seeing as how the present royal residence along Jalan Istana had “inadequate space” for banquets and meetings.

Former works minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu had also told the national news agency that the site for the new palace had been gazetted for the purpose 30 years ago. It has been proposed that the present palace be turned into a royal museum.

The site of the new Istana Negara near Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur (photo by Lee Lay Kin of theedgeproperty.com)