Prime Minister Najib Razak defended his plans for a 100-storey megatower in Kuala Lumpur after a backlash on a fast-expanding Facebook petition and criticism from the opposition.
Najib unveiled plans for the tower to be built by 2020 at a cost of RM5 billion, during last week's budget speech that included a number of grand infrastructure projects.
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.
Anti-Tower Campaign on FACEBOOK
A Facebook page to protest against the plan to build a 100-storey mega-tower in Kuala Lumpur has signed up over 100,000 supporters in less than a week.
The '1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower' page, created last Saturday - the day after Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the RM5 billion project in his 2011 Budget speech - has 101,327 supporters as at 9.50pm on 22nd October, 2010
It aims to register one million supporters in the coming weeks.
The phenomenal growth of supporters is indicative of the outpouring of criticism from Malaysians who say the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Two days ago, the creators of the page, who wished to remain anonymous, had accused Facebook of blocking their access to the site.
They said they were barred from posting any message.
However, their access was restored after the page was recategorised by Facebook as a community page instead of a fan page.
According to Facebook, a fan page may only represent a specific individual, brand or organisation. But the anti-tower page owners insisted that they had originally registered the page as a community page.
At UMNO General Assembly
Umno delegates today defended the BN-led government's penchant for multi-billion ringgit mega projects, saying such projects are a sure-fire way of attracting enough private investment to achieve the goal of becoming a high-income nation by 2020.
Youth wing deputy chief Razali Ibrahim said mega projects present a viable means for the private sector to participate in the nation's development, eventually taking over from the government in funding future projects.
Razali Ibrahim slammed the opposition for stoking public discontent against the government's mega projects, most recently against the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower proposed in Najib's Budget 2011, saying the opposition are merely fishing for support.
Kedah delegate Othman Aziz said the proposed 100-storey tower will provide opportunities to local contractors, architects and consultants to prove that they are on par with their international counterparts in building a new icon, that will become the pride of the people and nation.
Supreme council member Awang Adek Hussin also brushed aside complaints from the opposition regarding the government's mega projects, saying they “don't understand” the importance of construction to the nation's economic growth.
The deputy Kelantan liaison chief and deputy Finance Minister pointed out that such projects help the people by providing many job opportunities.