KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — The Merdeka Stadium, one of the country’s most historical and iconic landmarks, is expected to reopen its doors to the public by the second quarter of 2024 after being closed since 2016.
Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) Group chairman Tan Sri Raja Arshad Raja Tun Uda said efforts to restore the Merdeka Stadium to its original form, just like when it was opened in 1957, had received the cooperation and support of Badan Warisan Malaysia and National Heritage Department.
Gazetted as a national heritage site on October 17, 2005, Stadium Merdeka is owned by PNB Merdeka Ventures, but comes under the trusteeship and management of the Merdeka Heritage Trust.
“The earnest effort to restore the historic heritage of the iconic stadium is expected to increase the heritage value of the site as well as create and sustain social and economic opportunities. It can also become a popular tourist destination, both for local and international tourists,” he said.
Arshad said this in his speech during a motion of thanks in conjunction with the official opening of Menara Merdeka 118 by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, here tonight.
PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd established the Merdeka Heritage Trust (MHT) in 2006 to restore, preserve and manage Stadium Merdeka, which includes the removal of seating terraces for a larger seating capacity of 45,000 seats built for the 1989 SEA Games.
The Merdeka Stadium was considered the Federation of Malaya’s engineering marvel when it was started to be built in 1956 and was completed within a year to host the most historical moment when Tunku Abdul Rahman declared the country’s independence on August 31, 1957, followed by the formation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963.
Speaking of the official opening today, Arshad said PNB had start shifting its operations to Menara Merdeka 118 since December 2023 since PNB would occupy 17 floors that can accommodate about 1,500 PNB staff.
The Merdeka 118 tower features a seven-storey shopping mall, office spaces, the luxury hotel Park Hyatt hotel as well as the highest observation deck in South-east Asia known as “The View at 118” .
Designed by Australian architects Fender Katsalidis, Merdeka 118 has officially topped out at 118 stories in Malaysia to become the world’s second tallest tower at a height of 678.9m, behind the tallest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai that stands at 828m.
It is a landmark which defines the Merdeka Stadium precinct in downtown Kuala Lumpur, the location where Malaysian Independence was declared in August 1957. — Bernama