KAJANG: Putrajaya represents how disconnected the government is from the people it is meant to serve, an architecture lecturer said yesterday, pointing to the lack of people-centric buildings in the country’s administrative capital.
Tajuddin Rasdi, who heads UCSI’s school of architecture, gave the example of a lack of parking facilities for the people at government buildings to illustrate his point.
“The facilities were built for the people, hence the onus is on the civil service to provide ample parking and a comfortable waiting space.
“Civil servants are supposed to serve the rakyat, as it is our taxes that pays the salary of the civil service. Instead, the civil service only serves itself, with signs that say ‘for staff only’, such as reserved parking lots.
“People should have the greatest comfort because we are the ones that you are serving, not the other way around,” he said at a talk on architecture and nation building, held at the Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) yesterday.
Tajuddin added that architecture could do so much better in this country as it exists as a facility to serve the needs of the people.
“Architecture has to be different, you can no longer do such things (like Putrajaya) as the city should belong to the people.”
Speaking to FMT later, Tajuddin said his other take home message is for architects, academics teaching architecture and students, to ask themselves what living in a multi-cultural society and democracy means to them.
“They need to make sense of the person they are in a socio-political place first, before they start designing schools, mosques, churches, hospitals and government buildings.
“Architects must look at this. Being a citizen, means that you have to know, you are a Malay, Chinese or Indian, and that makes us half of being a citizen.
“The other half is being a Malaysian, being tolerant, compassionate of other cultures that are also citizens. You have to be part of the family,” he said.
Tajuddin lamented the fact that the problem these days was that each race kept sticking to their own, with the “Malaysianness” missing.
“Religion has been boxed in into a very narrow homogenous construct when in fact it is not supposed to be like that.
“Our education system has boxed in a lot of things. They have totally bypassed the idea of democracy and the dignity of citizens in the country,” he said.