The Malaysian Government is defending its plan to build a 100-floor ‘mega-tower’ to be named Warisan Merdeka, which means Heritage of Independence.
With construction due to begin early next year, the tower will surpass Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas twin Towers, which both stand at 88 floors high.
The project has stirred debate about the need for a building, which will cost almost $US1.6 billion, with opponents, including former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed speaking out against it.
The head of the Opposition PKR party’s Youth wing, Shamsul Iskandar Mohammed Akin has told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program the building is unnecessary because there’s already a surplus of office space in the capital city.
“We are of the view that this five billionn ringgit, they can channel the money to all these important sectors, which is in the top list of priorities compared to having a building,” he said.
“And they can also come with a special economic program too, to boost the economic growth, give some loans to the people who work in the small-medium industry so there can be a lot of business activity within the country.”
More than 200,000 people have signed an online petition from the group against the construction, while a second petition is scheduled to be presented in parliament in January.
But the government insists that the Warisan Merdeka tower is needed, and Abdul Rahman Dahlan, an MP from the ruling UMNO party, says massive infrastructure development is a quick way to boost the economy.
“Everybody knows that the construction business has a spillover effect, and if you build something, a whole range of other small industries benefit from it, not to mention employment, immediate employment and small contractors making money,” he said.
“You must understand that the whole complex will be built within, I think, in a span of ten years minimum, ten to fifteen years, so we may have a glut now but we may not have it in years to come.
“We need something big, huge, as we needed it in the mid-80’s, we needed a big infrastructure project to kickstart the economy.”