Yes to Stadium Merdeka, no to Mega Tower | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Yes to Stadium Merdeka, no to Mega Tower
Writer: Wong Chin Huat
Published: Fri, 20 Jul 2012

On Monday, the 1st anniversary of the Bersih 2.0 rally, about 300 of us braved the rain and walked from Dataran Merdeka to Stadium Merdeka.

The organisers,, picked them as the starting and end points because these public places maintained with public funds belong to the public and no one should deny our access to these places just because some people are allergic to the world Merdeka (Tahrir in Arabic) or they lose sleep thinking of Egypt and Hosni Mubarak.

The journey from Dataran Merdeka to Stadium Merdeka took us less than 40 minutes but the journey for ordinary Malaysians to walk out of the fear of violence took more than 40 years.

When we shouted Merdeka seven times emulating how Tunku did it in 1957, independence is not an ancient story in the history textbook, it is our experience, our memory, part of our lives.

A friend, Dino Goh, told his baby girl: “Remember the uncles and aunties of all ethnic backgrounds you see tonight. They are the founding fathers and mothers for this country.”

He was referring to Malaysia 2.0, the new country born on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on last July 9.

Yes, we are not only the descendants of our ancestors. We are also the ancestors of our descendants.

Someday, we will pass on this planet, which was passed on to us by our parents, to our children and grandchildren.

Next year, the year after that, and every year afterwards if possible, I want to come back to Stadium Merdeka to relive our memory of an epic rally.

I cannot agree more with my painter friend Victor Chin that “a city without old buildings is like a person without soul”.

Memory. That’s why we preserve heritage and we keep old trees. Even if you were not there to witness the birth of Malaya in 1957 or the birth of Malaysia 2.0 54 years later, Stadium Merdeka may still mean a lot to you personally.

For my friend Jayanath, his earlier memory of Stadium Merdeka was watching Malaysian football teams at their best in the Merdeka Cup.

I am no football fan but I can imagine young Jayanath walking downhill and recalling the goals in excitement.

What’s yours? What is Stadium Merdeka to you? Did you catch Michael Jackson there in 1996? Did you bring your love to watch Celine Dion in 2008? Or was it Jolin Tsai or Justin Bieber last year? Or, were you there for the 1965 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games?

One cannot imagine in the 1990s, this maternity room of our nation, almost disappeared in the name of redevelopment.

Fortunately, the 1997-98 East Asian financial crisis saved the stadium. Imagine our memoryland would have otherwise become an entertainment and office complex.

It is unimaginable that Stadium Merdeka may soon again disappear. Different prime ministers. Same intention to wipe out the landmark of Tunku’s legacies and replace it with some skyscrapers to mark their own era.

A report released by the MRT Corp. in April reveals the location of the notorious 100-storey Mega Tower called Warisan Merdeka.

Both Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara will be annexed by the phallic structure. The neighbouring Stadium Chingwu, was not included in the Mega Tower’s plan.

However, rumours have it that the director board of Chingwu has been successfully lobbied to sell off the premises.

Apparently, this MRT route through Jalan Sultan was chosen to benefit the Mega Tower.

The MRT can actually take Jalan Cheng Lock and the Jalan Pudu which may allow the revival of the abandoned Plaza Rakyat.

The realignment proposal was shot down because the new MRT station would be too far away from the Mega Tower.

But why do we need Mega Tower in the first place? Some unauthorised news says that the skyscraper will now exceed 100 storeys and its cost may easily jump beyond RM10 billion.

Don’t we already have excess supply of office places? Do we have too much money and not know how to spend?

I can’t find one single reason to let the Mega Tower demolish or cover-up the two historical stadiums. But the real issue is really: why is the government hiding behind the Mega Tower? We as citizens of  Kuala Lumpur, deserve to know its full plan.

This is our city. We have every right to protect our heritage, to know how our public funds are spent, and whether or not we will get caught in worse traffic jam, with the construction of Mega Tower.



 Selangor Times



Also by Wong Chin Huat:

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Voting right by residency?

AS published in the gazette on Jan 14, 2013, the Election Commission (EC) has changed the postal voting bylaw to extend postal voting rights to more – but not all – overseas Malaysians.

Changing colour of minority politics

IYOU follow Malaysians’ obsession for numbers, you would say that 1125 must have a certain embedded meaning about minority politics.

Can early polls stabilise the country?

The Economist (“No Time Like Tomorrow, Oct 6, ) is right in a way to compare Datuk Seri Najib Razak to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who lost the election he called too late. 

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How to punish a recalcitrant state?

I can understand why Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin wanted to freeze loans for students of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and why Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could not wait to back this decision.

It’s about Malaysia, not Ambiga

Those who set up the anonymous website got it all wrong. Technically speaking, it’s a very simple but very smart project.

A city without history

I love Berlin for her history. You don’t have to go to the Brandenburg Gate, Berliner Dom or Charlie Checkpoint to feel it. It’s everywhere in the city.

Which is worse, disobeying or obeying bad laws?

Since Nov 26,  people have been gathering in yellow at some parts of KLCC at 2pm on Saturdays. They stage a series of “Malaysians can …. at KLCC without police permit” protests. You can fill in the blank while walking in KLCC park, reciting poems, posing with Christmas trees, picnicking, and celebrating birthdays.

Merdeka: A crime of thought and feeling

First, it was Prof Abdul Aziz Bari of International Islamic University Malaysia. He was suspended and even prevented from entering the campus by his university simply because he commented unfavourably on a certain practice of a constitutional monarch. His suspension was lifted only after students protested against it. He is still under investigation for sedition.

Biometric verification and online banking

THE hottest technology in town is perhaps biometric verification. Not only it is used in registering foreign workers, the government wants it to be applied to Malaysian voters, too.

Real issues behind ethnic representation

After the Sarawak state elections, Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians of all sizes and shapes talked about ethnic representation. The message targeting ethnic minority is simple: if you abandon us before everyone else, you will be abandoned.

A biblical perfect storm?

History is often written unconsciously. When the Tunisian police confiscated Mohamed Bouazizi’s vegetable cart, then President Ben Ali would never have thought that the innocuous incident would eventually bring him, Housni Mubarak and perhaps a few more Arab leaders down.











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