Petronas Twin Towers loses its "world tallest building" title to the Taipei International Finance Centre may not be a bad thing after all


Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):  Standing at 508 metres, the 101-storey Taipei International Finance Centre has beaten the 452-metres, 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers to the second spot yesterday.

Out of the top ten tallest buildings in the world, eight of them in Asia, the remaining two in America. It seems to me that only the Asians and the Americans are obsessed with tall buildings. The Europeans do not seem to have any interest in the race.

I think the Europeans were doing the right thing in this aspect. Such a "glorified" title bears no substance and real meaning to the country. It's also short-lived in nature. Another one in Shanghai (next to the world's highest hotel) will soon overtake the Taipei building. And another building some where in Asia or America will overtake the one in Shanghai. It's just a matter of time. There's really no end to the race.

The other thing that struck me about the Taipei building is that its office space is already 90% booked long before its completion in 2004. In contrast, the Petronas Twin Towers were only half-filled after so many years of completion. It's a huge loss of taxpayers' money, typical of all "white elephants".

Malaysian government leaders should learn a lesson or two from this loss of world title. They should refrain from building another tall building to regain the title.

Malaysians should also stop chasing after meaningless titles, such as the "longest cake and the "largest" flag. The government should stop spending money on white elephants projects, but focus on raising our standard in other essential fields, such as education, healthcare, productivity and quality of life.

We should aim to become the friendliest city in the world, now that Kuala Lumpur was ranked last in a recent survey of 23 cities throughout the world.

We should aim to become the safest city in the world, because one Canny Ong is far too many, and all of us have the right not to live in fear.

We should aim to become the cleanest city in the world, instead of having clogged drains and uncollected rubbish for months and years.

If we can learn from mistakes, losing the world's tallest building may not be a bad thing after all.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP National Publicity Secretary