DBKL calls off skyscraper plan

The futuristic four-tower building was to replace the current 12-storey Menara DBKL 2 to stand tall next to Menara DBKL 1.

The plan to replace Menara DBKL 2 with a new high-rise building has been called off.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz (pic) said the redevelopment project had to be cancelled as the Government had decided that the multi-million ringgit project was not feasible in the current economic climate.

Instead the priority now was to build more affordable housing for the people, he told StarMetro.

He added that the decision was arrived at after reviewing other projects planned for the capital city.

“We are reviewing all our commitments for 2016. There are many projects planned for next year, and we decided that, based on the current economic situation, we really have to choose either to spend a lot of money on Menara DBKL 2 or to focus on affordable housing,” he said.

Last year, former mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Phesal Talib had announced that Menara DBKL 2 in Jalan Raja Laut would be demolished and replaced by a skyscraper to create more office space, as DBKL intended to relocate all its departments under one roof.

The announcement raised many questions as the local authority had spent a substantial sum, estimated to run into seven figures, renovating and upgrading Menara DBKL 2, including upgrading all its lifts, some months earlier.

DBKL had bought the building about 10 years ago from the Selangor State Development Corporation and it housed several departments including Licensing and Petty Traders Management, Urban Transport, Internal Audit, and Information Management.

The proposed skyscraper, estimated to cost a whopping RM500mil, would have been designed by Hijjas Kasturi Associates after the firm won a competition organised by DBKL.

The plan also included two floors of retail space and four tower blocks.

Ahmad Phesal had also said that all departments currently housed in Menara DBKL 3 in Jalan Raja Abdullah would be relocated to the new tower, because being located on prime land, it could be rented out easily.

Currently, DBKL has three administrative buildings – Menara DBKL 1 and 2 located in Jalan Raja Laut and Menara DBKL 3, also known as Menara Wawasan DBKL, less than 2km away in Jalan Raja Abdullah.

DBKL’s decision then had received a lot of criticism including from Asli Centre of Public Policy and Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, who had said that the project needed full consultation with the people before any decision was finalised especially when the current building was functioning well.

Opposition MPs in Kuala Lumpur had earlier questioned the mayor’s decision to build the new tower, saying that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money and, at their first meet-the-mayor session, had urged him to cancel the project.

On hearing of the latest decision Titiwangsa MP Datuk Johari Ghani expressed his happiness.

“The government must show its commitment in building low- and medium-cost units for the people,” he said.

Setiawangsa MP Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari said the decision to scrap the project was the best news he had heard so far.

“This is great news for the people of Kuala Lumpur and this shows that the Government cares for the residents and is listening to their woes by deciding to build more affordable homes instead,” he said.

Several DBKL employees based at Menara DBKL 2 said they were notified via SMS that the project had been cancelled and that they would not be moving out.

“We were told to start unpacking and that the inconvenience was regretted,” said an employee who wished to remain anonymous.

“The text message also said we would be given written notification later,” the employee added. - BY BAVANI M (StarProperty)