Mega-Tower: Backlash and Najib’s defense

What if the tower fails to thrive like the other mega projects during Mahathir eras? Haven’t we all learnt something from the past?

By Trinity Chua

I know the big banner on the top of my blog says this is a blog about racism and race in Malaysia.

Why am I talking about a 100-storey high tower, you may wonder? The answer is simple. It affects every single one of us- whatever race cards you prefer, you’re affected. In that sense, welcome to 1Malaysia.

Some background of the story

During the Budget 2011 Plan, our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak proposed to build a 100 storey mega tower along with other mega constructions.

The cost for the mega tower is RM 5 billion and but on Tuesday, Najib has said the tower will be ready in 2020.

The building, named “Warisan Merdeka” or “Heritage of Independence”, would be the tallest in Malaysia, dwarfing the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which were the world’s tallest buildings at 88 storeys when completed in 1998.

Najib has said such projects exemplify the spirit of “Malaysia Boleh” or “Malaysia Can”, a national campaign conceived by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, an advocate of mega projects (taken from Agence France-Presse).

Former prime minister, Tun Mahathir supports the idea. During Mahathir times, he had also indulge in a series of mega projects including the Petronas Twin Towers, KL Tower and Putrajaya.

Opposition leaders have lambasted the project as more detrimental to Malaysia rather than beneficial. Also, a Facebook group (to date has 17 000 supporters and still growing) was set up 4 days ago against Najib’s mega tower.

Mega-ego or mega-economic growth?

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today defended the proposal to build a 100-storey tower, costing RM5 billion, saying it was not a waste but an opportunity to generate the economy and create an icon for a developed and modern Malaysia.

The prime minister said the construction of the tower would benefit many sectors.

“There are many contract works which we can give out to spur economic activities. The area can also become a centre of attraction and a business centre.  This is not a waste but something that will bring benefit,” he said- (taken from Malaysian Digest.)

We might have expected the Prime Minister to say foreign investments, international support or even, some-money-will-be-given-to-the-poor sort of justification. But no, he said contracts?


How does CONTRACTS help our economy? As you know, if the contracts are private contracts the chances are only the rich privatized companies will be benefiting from Najib’s 100-storey block of solid metal.

As far as I know, when a private company make money, do they give one sen to the poor? Have you seen Sime Darby or Dell decide to pour their gold into rural areas like Jinjang?

Wait, doesn’t giving contract to private companies sound very much like meritocracy? I thought we’re against that concept.

He said Pemodalan National Bhd was the one who proposed the project.

“I did not ask PNB to undertake the project. It is something which the PNB management wants to see implemented,” he told reporters after giving a closed-door briefing to Umno leaders in conjunction with the 2010 Umno General Assembly which started today (taken from Malaysian Digest).

PNB is the biggest fund management company in the our country. They are also a Bumiputras centered company. If Bumiputras that are poor benefits from this, then it is indeed a feasible plan. But how much do all the other poors have to sacrificed for this project, I do not know nor I have seen any media willing to discuss this issue.

Read more at: