The news that a 138-metre tall tower dubbed ‘Maha Tower’ is being constructed in Langkawi has gone largely unnoticed. Why build such a huge structure to mar a natural paradise (or at least, what used to be a natural paradise)?
The site at the beachfront in Kuah covers 28.5 acres and the entire project, some of it on reclaimed land, is expected to be completed by 2020. The tower itself, believed to cost more than RM100m, is supposed to be completed by 2015.
The project is being undertaken by PFCE Integrated Plant and Project (PIPP), working closely with the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada), to build the tower. Dekinjaya Builders Sdn Bhd is handling the construction.
The Ant Daily reports that PFCE is a wholly owned subsidiary of PFCE Bhd. A check on the PFCE Group website, however, does not reveal an outfit by the name of PIPP. Neither is PIPP included in the list of subsidiaries of PFCE Bhd in the latter’s 2012 Annual Report.
Malaysian Insider had cited a Bernama report in 2011 saying that the company undertaking the project is Blackrock.
Lada was set up in 1990 by the federal government to spur development on the island at a time when the island was being given extra attention by then premier Mahathir.
Someone reportedly came up with the ‘bright’ idea 20 years ago to build this tower on the island.
The Perdana Leadership Foundation website carries a Harakah report from 2011, which quotes Mahathir as saying that the project has gone ahead after “securing an injection of funds from the federal government and receiving the support of the state government”.
The report also mentions the construction is to be undertaken by Blackrock Construction Sdn Bhd. The Blackrock executive chairman is Abu Hassan Mohamed, who reportedly is the special adviser to PIPP.
So federal funds were injected for this tower? So is this a government project or private project?
Mahathir added: “I have been given the honour of naming the tower but have not come up with anything suitable.”
That was back then.
The Ant report noted in November 2013: “Abu Hassan also dismissed speculation that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the inspiration for the name of the tower. Incidentally, Dr Mahathir officiated at the launch of the project earlier this month (November 2013).”
The entire ‘Maha Tower’ project will include serviced apartments, hotels, and multi-storey retail units.
Perched high on the tower will be a telecommunications control room at 111 metres and an observation deck at 102 metres above sea level. The deck will provide a view of the mystical Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (Tasik Dayang Bunting) at the nearby Dayang Bunting Island.
Oh dear, there goes Langkawi. Does Langkawi really need a telecommuncations control room? And surely there is already a good view from the existing cable cars on the island?
The project itself is reportedly aimed at drawing in more tourists. But who in their right mind would want to go to Langkawi to gawk at a tower?
In a sense, this project provides food for thought: a tower called Maha will mar the natural beauty of Langkawi.