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KL Skyline Soars To New Heights With Samsung-Made Merdeka 118

KL Skyline Soars To New Heights With Samsung-Made Merdeka 118

Merdeka 118, Kuala Lumpur’s newest skyscraper, inaugurated by the King stands as a symbol of Malaysia’s progress and unity.

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During a recent magnificent ceremony, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah officially opened the majestic Merdeka 118, the newest architectural wonder that graces Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.

The event, marking the finalization of the world’s second-tallest building following Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, was a significant milestone for the nation, representing its accomplishments and solidarity.

The 678.9-meter-tall Merdeka 118, built by Korean company Samsung C&T, symbolises Malaysia’s aspirations and national pride.

The skyscraper stands on historic ground, its name ‘Merdeka’ meaning ‘independence’ in Malay, signifying the country’s journey since 1957 when it gained freedom from British colonial rule.

The number ‘118’ refers to the significant number of floors within the structure.

You can see the Merdeka 118 Tower far away due to its impressive height and prominent location in Kuala Lumpur. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

A Landmark of Innovation and Investment

Merdeka 118 is an extensive complex with 118 floors above ground and 5 below, covering 673,862 square meters.

The building accommodates offices, luxury hotels, and shopping malls. It is notable for its top-floor observation deck, providing panoramic views of the city and is expected to become a globally renowned attraction.

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Malaysia’s largest fund management company, conceived the idea for this iconic structure and is owned through its subsidiary PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd.

The construction of the Merdeka 118 Tower as it edged closer to completion in 2022. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

The project’s cost has been a closely guarded secret, but it is known to be a multi-billion ringgit investment between RM3 billion to RM5 billion.

Designing and constructing a building of such magnitude came with its share of challenges, including the need to accommodate the region’s tropical climate and potential seismic activity.

The tower’s unique design features a symbolic and functional spire, acting as a pinnacle for the structure and as an antenna.

Capturing the city’s essence: Merdeka 118’s glass facade beautifully mirrors the vibrant city landscape. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Debating the Tower: Cost, Consequences, and Controversy

Criticism and complaints about the Merdeka 118 tower have been varied, reflecting concerns about cost, environmental impact, and social priorities.

One major point of contention has been the cost of the project.

The allocation of a colossal investment in a single structure has raised questions about prioritising funds in the face of other social needs, such as affordable housing and broader population infrastructure improvements.

Environmental concerns have also been raised, including the substantial carbon footprint and impact on the surrounding ecosystem that accompany the construction of such a large-scale project.

In contrast, Merdeka 118 is committed to sustainability.

It aims to become the first Malaysian tower to achieve a triple-platinum rating with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), GreenRE, and Green Building Index certification.

This commitment reflects an unwavering dedication to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, setting a new gold standard for sustainability in Malaysia.

Maybank will move from its iconic Menara Maybank and occupy 33 floors of Merdeka 118, with plans to move in the first quarter of 2025. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Critics have pointed to the potential for increased pollution and the strain on local resources as negative consequences of the tower’s development.

From a social perspective, some argue that the Merdeka 118 tower does not address the socio-economic disparities within the country.

Some see it as an icon of wealth and power that stands in stark contrast to the lived realities of many Malaysians who may be struggling financially, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, the Merdeka 118 is an engineering marvel that showcases the capabilities and achievements of modern engineering.

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