The Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen says the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka building will be a catalyst for spurring tourism growth.
I’m not sure what she’s smoking, but if it gave her that kinda rose-tinted outlook, I want some of that. There are very few things that one reads in the Malaysian media these days that give one a good feeling.
Forgive the high cynicism, but what the hell was the PM thinking when he announced this?
For readers who are familiar with Kuala Lumpur, the proposed site of the development alone would be cause for alarm.
Ok ok…i’m overwhelmed by sheer disbelief, and so many questions assail me at this point.
Let me start with Yen Yen’s contention first. She said it is good for tourism and domestic trade sector. Tell me, how many people come to Malaysia just to look at our skyscrapers, for us to justify spending RM5 billion on yet another one?
Malaysia is still (despite unbridled development) one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. How many countries on the Equatorial belt can boast that?
Culture, food and our rainforests (not necessarily in that order of importance) will continue to be the bigger crowd puller. The proposed new tower will not work its magic and and bring billions tourism dollars. It doesn’t really work that way.
In fact, Malaysians too travel globally with increased frequency, even more so with the coming of Air Asia. Tell me, would the Burj Khalifa in Dubai or the Taipei 101 tower be the major reason for you to travel there?
These are just concrete edifices that stand as a symbol of mankind’s ambition.
Petronas Twin Towers
Make no mistake though. I am mighty proud of the beautiful Petronas Twin Towers. I have taken numerous photos of it and whenever I come back from KLIA, the sight of the Twin Towers tells me “hey, you are back home.”
In the 10 years, it has become an icon of modern Malaysia and a defining part of the Kuala Lumpur cityscape. But the highest I have been in that building, is level 42, where the Malaysian Petroleum Club is. Most Malaysians only get to look at it from afar.
In fact, post construction, I think the highest anyone has gotten in that building were “Spiderman” Alain Robert and bunch of BASE jumpers before and after him.
Despite my fondness for the Petronas Twin Towers, I can’t summon the same kind of hope, optimism and positive vibe when it comes to the proposed Warisan Merdeka development, the centrepiece of which is this much-talked about 100 storey tower.
Need for such a project.
Many are jittery about this project, witnessed by some cautious statements in the media.
From the real estate standpoint:
Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) deputy president Datuk FD Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said the plan for the potentially high-impact commercial development must take into consideration demand and supply of office space in the capital city.
He said such a massive project should be approached with caution and proper feasibility studies before proceeding.
“Kuala Lumpur already has a focal point – the Petronas Twin Towers – and the question is whether it is necessary to have another one. Moreover, there is enough office space in the city. Additional space from the Warisan Merdeka and other projects, including the RM26bil Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD), may result in an oversupply of commercial property space,” Iskandar said. – from The Star Business. Read the full story here.
Pic from the Star.
Click the pic for a closer look. The proposed site is adjacent to both Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara.
The fears of a commercial property glut is not a new one. As far back as May, even without a hint of this latest mega project, OSK Research had already painted a gloomy forecast a space glut.
Has anyone noticed where the site of this proposed project is? The access/exit involve such such areas as Petaling Street, Jalan Kinabalu/Maharajalela and Jalan Hang Tuah, the last of which is not free from jams even after the opening of the elevated bypass.
Even from the construction stage, the traffic impact conjures up a nightmarish image.
But never mind that. We KL-ites have endured such things as the Monorail, LRT and KLCC construction before, not to mention the AKLEH elevated highway project.
In a Utopian scenario, this building would be filled with tenants. Let’s say even 80% of the building is occupied. Now, imagine the number of cars freshly introduced to the surrounding traffic grid. Can tahan meh?
One of the very few decisions of Dr M administration that I agreed with, was the removing of the civil service out of Kuala Lumpur.
That decision alone took out thousands of cars out of the immediate Kuala Lumpur traffic grid. That was a good thing to de-congest KL. Of course in the decade or so since, the corporates have moved in.
In 10 years time, this mega project alone will contribute thousands more cars (If point to point integrated public transport is not in place by then).
We could be looking at a dystopia worse than Mid Valley here.
And how is that good for business, or living ?
P.S. I know that the PM also announced the Greater KL MRT project expected to cost a mindblowing RM36 billion.
But then talk about integrating public transport has been around for a better part of two decades now, and such was red tape that the two LRT concessionaires could not even seamlessly link the what was (in pre-Syarikat Prasarana Negara times) known as the Putra and Star LRT lines.
And until today, there is still failure to provide point to point feeder bus service. This is crucial if you want people to leave their cars at home. If this was adequately handled, do you think we will need this RM36 billion “solution”?
Think about it.