100 march to oppose Warisan Merdeka tower

Some 100 protesters marched to Stadium Merdeka at the launch of the ‘Say No to 118 Mega Tower’ campaign last night to oppose the Warisan Merdeka tower. They urged for the return of the now-demolished Taman Merdeka park, as well as the surrounding area to be declared a national heritage site.

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“From tonight, we shall continue our campaign until we receive word that the tower’s construction has been cancelled,” vowed Ishak Surin (left), who leads the Pertahankan Taman Merdeka Negara (PTMN) coalition. He also claimed that the coalition of 22 Kuala Lumpur-based NGOs had sent letters asking to meet KL mayor Ahmad Phesal Talib on Dec 6 and Dec 26 last year, but did not receive any response. Organising chairperson of the night’s events, Tan Ah Chye (right), added that it is ironic that the Warisan Merdeka tower – whose name literally means ‘Heritage of Independence’ – would dwarf the surrounding landmarks. These include the adjacent Chin Woo Stadium that was built in 1953 and Stadium Merdeka, built in 1957. He said the move underestimated the intelligence of the rakyat, adding that, “I didn’t think our standard of education is that low.”

Before going on the 10-minute march to Stadium Merdeka, the crowd had gathered at Chin Woo Stadium since 7pm to savour the night’s performances. These included Chinese, Sikh, and Malay percussion performances, as well as an Indian dance performance by two sisters, who were described as hailing from the soon-to-be-evicted Kampung Railway. Several singing and poetry recital performances also took place, including singer Nik Jidan who sung a tribute to deceased political aide Teoh Beng Hock, and poet Chiew Ruoh Tau who recited a poem about a parent struggling to answer the question ‘where did we come from’ without any heritage sites. Those present at the event included Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) president Tan Yew Sing, National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat) chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim, and Mama Bersih chairperson Andrea Kan. Mock tower built of cards To kick off the campaign, a mock tower was built out of cards with an aerial photograph of the surrounding area as backdrop, roughly corresponding to Warisan Merdeka’s construction site.

This was later symbolically torn down by the VIPs, and participants were invited to sign and return the cards or pass it to their friends and invite them to do so. These cards spell out PTMN’s cause and demands and contains a space for the petitioner’s name and NRIC number. Some 4,000 cards have been prepared and would be passed to relevant authorities. After that, the participants began their march to Stadium Merdeka at about 10pm, and dispersed peacefully after national laureate A Samad Said recited his poem Senandung Rumah Pusaka (Hymns of the Inherited Home).   Source : Malaysiakini

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