KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Merdeka 118 tower will become the second tallest building in the world and the tallest building in South-East Asia.
This is following the completion of its spire and the tower which will officially stand at a height of 678.9m. Only the Burj Khalifa (830m) in Dubai stands taller.
In his opening speech, Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was proud to announce the completion of the tower spire amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I was made to understand that Merdeka 118 will also be the first tower in Malaysia to earn triple platinum ratings with international sustainability certifications, including the highly prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (Leed).
"This is not only a great achievement in the field of engineering, but also further strengthens Malaysia's position as a modern and developed country," he said at a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the tower's spire on Tuesday (Nov 30).
Malaysia's declaration of independence was made at the next-door Stadium Merdeka on Aug 31, 1957, by then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. That date is now celebrated the country's independence day.
The number 118 represents the number of floors in the new tower.
"This will make Merdeka 118 an industry benchmark in the country and serve as an iconic tower for the future," he said.
Besides spurring the national economy, the development of the project, added Mr Ismail, would provide economic opportunities for the local community in the areas surrounding Petaling Street, Kampung Attap and Pudu.
"In fact, Merdeka 118 is seen to bring the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family), aside from opportunities for the local community to promote businesses; it will also become an attraction for the surrounding areas through the Merdeka 118 community grant programme.
"The application for the Merdeka 118 grants opened from June 28 until Aug 20 this year, whereby Keluarga Malaysia can apply for three types of grants involving sports, arts and business," said the Prime Minister.
The tower covers more than three million square feet of floor area, comprising 1.66 million square feet of net lettable area (NLA) of Grade-A office space and about one million square feet of retail space.
A number of outstanding features have been incorporated into the tower including "The View at 118" Observation Deck, which will be the highest in South-East Asia, as well as the glass-domed 118 mall within the podium of the tower.
Other components of the Merdeka 118 precinct include the Merdeka Textile Museum, showcasing Malay-world textile, Little M, a childcare centre for children below seven years old and Masjid Merdeka, a mosque that can accommodate up to 3,000 people.
PNB Merdeka Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), is the developer of the project.
Earlier, PNB group chairman Tun Arifin Zakaria said the completion of the spire was a significant step forward for the project.
The tower and infrastructure upgrades in its surrounding area are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.