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Malaysians propose massive masterplan for tsunami city

The Malaysian government has claimed that architects and planners from the Far Eastern country could draw up a masterplan for the tsunami-battered Indonesian city of Banda Aceh in less than three months.

Malaysian deputy prime minister Najib Razak said the team would reconstruct the city - which faced the brunt of the tsunami - focusing on building 120,000 new homes and a new sea wall.

The politician, speaking during a one-day visit to the ruined city and the surrounding island of Sumatra, said the team could draw up a concept within one month of being given the go-ahead.

'The final shape will depend on the wishes of the Indonesian government and people, who will determine the arts and the philosophy of the construction,' Najib said after opening a Malaysian-run relief centre.

Many of the planners currently offering their services in Banda Aceh helped build Malaysia's new administrative capital, Putrajaya - a carefully landscaped complex of government offices blending modern facilities with Islamic architecture - in an area that was once mostly rubber and palm oil plantations.

by Ed Dorrell

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