The snapshot of the grand plan of building Malaysia Truly Asia attraction in a 26.3 hectare site adjacent to Tugu Negara isn’t damaging enough taken at face value. There is an underlying sinister agenda.
According to the Ministry of Federal Territory and Urban Well Being website, the theme attraction park is one of the five iconic projects for Kuala Lumpur. It is actually briefly explained as:
Malaysia Truly Asia Centre – an integrated cultural tourism park. It is a 65.66 acre site bordered by the Tugu Peringatan, Padang Merbok, Bank Negara’s Lanai Kijang residential complex and Istana Selangor and will be announced later in the year.
Part of building that would be torn down and make way for this is the mansion where Institute of Strategic and International Studies is housed. It is believed it was the same building that Allahyarham Tan Sri Mohamad Noah Omar resided when he served as the first Speaker of Dewan Rakyat.
The personalities appointed into the BOD and serving behind Khazanah Nasional Bhd.’s subsidiary Theme Attraction and Resorts Sdn. Bhd. (TAR) are reflective of the sinister agenda to follow through proposals in the lame excuse of progress and commercialisation. More importantly, to over-write over on history and possibly at the expense of heritage and traditional whilst at it.
The Chairman is was former Minister in-charge of EPU in PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz. His contribution is remembered best when over night in mid 2008, the Federal Government rose the retail price of petrol by 78sen. It has already proven that Amirsham is a sort of leader who makes decision based on the facts presented and more importantly independent from political and community sensitivities.
The other board members include ‘Level Four Boys’ operative Ganen Sarvananthan and former McKinsey consultant Tunku Besar Seri Menanti Tunku Ali Redhauddin Tuanku Mukhriz. Ganen is believed to be one of the architects behind the KFC restructuring plan late last year.
It is no mystery why TAR is willing to go ahead with the project for maximising the full potential from the commercialisation of the 66 acre site. And in the process of monetising the asset, a sense of heritage, tradition and wealth of history is wiped out.
Even though the proposal has not been approved by relevant authorities, the thought of coming up with the concept of taking away heritage and history and make way for commercialized projects is reflective of the thought process of the stewards of the company which is centered towards greed.
TAR’s current projects in Johor such as Legoland in Iskandar Malaysia and Hello Kitty in Puteri Harbour have shown termendous success. In fact, Legoland is expected to rake it profits in their first year of operations. With the addition of Kidzania in Puteri Harbour, they are expecting an aggregated figure of three million annual visitors to all three theme parks.
TAR did value add in new development areas such as Iskandar Malaysia and tapped some of the visitors from neighbouring Singapore.
It is different from the proposed Malaysia Truly Asia attraction. Kuala Lumpur could do with an additional attraction as such, but not at the expense of dismantling its history and heritage. Definitely at the present proposed site, where part of it is a green lung for the city centre.
If this thought process continues, probably one fine day some wise one within TAR would come up with the proposition to create a theme park attraction at the Old Istana Negara. And it should include all the mansions surrounding it, all the way bordering at the massive Chinese cemetery.
That would be thinning of the wedge.