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Abandoned Mahathir-era projects in JB being revived

Kemayan City Mall, abandoned due to recession in 1997/98 will be completely revived this year.

Kemayan City Mall, abandoned due to recession in 1997/98 will be completely revived this year.

KUALA LUMPUR – March 7, 2017: Abandoned projects in Johor Baru that were first built during the time of former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad are being revived.

Among the projects are the Kemayan City Mall that is expected to be completed later this year. It is one of several shopping complexes that were deserted for nearly 20 years and is being revived by the WCT Group.

The building was acquired by WCT in 2013 and is being transformed into a mixed-used project. This includes the re-building of the shopping complex and service apartments, said a government official who didn’t want to be identified.

There are many other deserted projects that will be revived soon, including the Lot 1 Waterfront City, for which the project was approved by former mentri besar Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in 1996, said the official.

One project that has been successfully revived is Danga City Mall. The complex was reopened in 2008 after it was acquired by Tropicana Corporation.

Kemayan City Mall was completed but never opened for business due to the financial problems of the late 199os. It was planned to be JB’s single biggest integrated shopping and commercial development and due to open in June 1998.

It is said to include 64,800 square metres of retail space spread over a 4.8-hectare site in Tampoi. Under the refurbishment plan there will be 216 service apartments and a 432-room hotel.

These projects abandoned during Mahathir’s premiership have been the subject of ridicule recently among pro-establishment supporters. Several bloggers published superimposed pictures of Mahathir with the projects, insinuating that these were his failures.

One of the doctored pictures showing Dr Mahathir and deserted JB Waterfront City.

One of the doctored pictures showing Dr Mahathir and deserted JB Waterfront City.

The original pictures of Mahathir and his supporters were taken on Saturday, showing him pointing at a freehold signboard at the site of the Forest City project.

Mahathir had alleged that the project on reclaimed land is being offered as freehold properties to foreigners, contrary to the explanation by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Anonymous pro-establishment bloggers at the Unspinners blog wrote that Mahathir should stop criticising current projects.

“He should take selfies with his failed projects. The world has changed. No one should listen to your (Dr Mahathir) lies now,” they wrote.

Anti-Najib bloggers have reacted strongly to what they described as a smear campaign.

Former minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin of Zamkata, a known staunch supporter of Mahathir, said to The Mole that the super-imposed pictures are a form of vengeance that Najib has against Mahathir.

Firdaus Abdullah or Apanama thinks that the pictures signify desperation by the ruling government.

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Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

A budding journalist. Aside of struggling to understand Malaysian political scenario, she is inspired to study and fight for women's emancipation. Above the rest; she simply loves her nation.