- Lee Long Hui
- 8:41AM Dec 28, 2012
Twenty-one Kuala Lumpur-based NGOs have formed a formidable coalition to protest against the Warisan Merdeka tower project and urged the federal government to instead make the entire area a national heritage site.
Led by Defend Our Heritage Association chief Ishak Surin, the ‘Pertahankan Taman Merdeka Negara’ committee (PTMN) will launch a ‘Say No to 118 Mega Tower!’ campaign against the project.
He claimed that the super tower, which is developed by PNB Merdeka Shd Bhd at the abandoned Taman Merdeka Negara, will destroy nearby historical buildings in Petaling Hill, Kuala Lumpur.
The buildings include Merdeka Stadium, Stadium Negara, Chin Woo Stadium and Taman Merdeka Negara, said Ishak at a press conference yesterday.
According to him, these buildings represent the collective and commemorative legacy of the nation’s pre- and post-independence history.
“We, the rakyat, are disgusted that not only will our public space be stolen from us, the proposed structure and the accompanying development will forever change the character of one of the symbols of our national independence – Stadium Merdeka – by having a 118-storey tower dwarfing it.
“We firmly believe that this project must be stopped immediately,” he said.
The Warisan Merdeka tower project was announced by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak in his Budget speech in 2010. Preparatory work has already started at the site.
The Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry later confirmedthat the height of tower will be increased to 118 storeys from the planned 102 levels, making it the world’s third tallest building.
Campaign to be launched on Jan 5
Ishak called on the government to preserve the Taman Merdeka Negara site and its surrounding landmarks, which constitute the “rakyat’s property”, for “public use, enjoyment and reflection”.
He urged the government to make the entire area a national heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005 as Taman Merdeka Negara has been an open park from pre-Merdeka days.
Ishak (right) also wanted the government to commit to an “inclusive, open, participatory consultation process” with concerned communities as equal stakeholders to keep Taman Merdeka Negara as a public space.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall chief executive officer Tang Ah Chai, who was also at the press conference, said that the coalition will officially launch its campaign on Jan 5 at 7pm in Chin Woo Stadium.
He welcomes all Kuala Lumpur residents who are concerned about the heritage and culture of the city to attend the event.
Source : Malaysiakini