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KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — A planned tower that will be the tallest building in Malaysia and the second tallest in Asia will not affect two historical stadiums in the same area, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
When launching the project for the construction of the 118-storey tower that he named as Merdeka PNB118, Najib said the skyscraper slated for completion by 2020 will be second only to the Shanghai Tower in terms of height.
He said the tower in the heart of Kuala Lumpur will become an “iconic” landmark that will define the capital city, besides enhancing its attractiveness to tourists and investors.
“When someone mentions an iconic tower, what exactly does it mean? What is it that makes a tower ‘iconic’? The design? The shape? The story or history that lies behind the development? Perhaps, in this case, it may be all of those things.
“But it is also the aspiration, the desire for excellence and the determination to build something memorable and lasting, something that can define new Malaysia,” he said in a speech at the launch.
“Generally, iconic buildings help define a city; they make a statement about its history, its ambition or how the city wishes to be seen. In other words, iconic buildings affect the way that we feel about a city, giving our fellow citizens a landmark to marvel at and to be proud of,” he added.
He also confirmed that the two stadiums within the area, including Stadium Merdeka where the declaration of independence for the federated Malay states was made in 1957, would not be affected by the construction.
“This project will preserve two of our great heritage buildings, namely Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, proving that it is entirely possible for modern, contemporary architecture with avant-garde features to co-exist harmoniously with rich, historical buildings, with both the old and the new complementing and enhancing each other,” he said.
In information provided by project owner Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), its chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid was quoted saying in a March 14, 2014 speech that the two stadiums — occupying part of the 40-acre (16.1-hectare) land purchased in 2000 — have been recognised as Unesco World Heritage sites.
After the two stadiums were declared National Heritage sites that cannot be demolished in 2005, PNB had formed the Merdeka Heritage Trust the following year to manage and preserve them, he said.
Today, Ahmad Sarji also said the PNB-funded project is expected to generate 10,000 job opportunities and around RM11 billion worth of primary and secondary economic multiplier effects.
The RM5 billion project is the first phase of PNB’s Warisan Merdeka mixed development project, which will be carried out in three stages and be completed by 2024.
In his speech, Najib said it was now time for PNB to reap the increased value from the land it purchased in 2000, adding that the Warisan Merdeka is a “strategic property development project” that will unlock and maximise the landbank’s value.
He said the Warisan Merdeka development is expected to boost the value of properties in the area, the Bukit Bintang area and the city’s Golden Triangle area.
He also said Warisan Merdeka’s first phase will become a symbol of pride and be a manifestation of Malaysia’s success in becoming a developed country and high-income nation by 2020.