WITH the Merdeka 118 tower taking shape as an iconic landmark in the Kuala Lumpur skyline, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd (PMVSB) - a wholly- owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), plays a vital role in transforming the Merdeka 118 precinct as a vibrant and celebrated destination for Malaysians and tourists alike. Recognising the diverse cultural fabric of the precinct, PMVSB has spearheaded engaging community programmes to attract visitors from all walks of life.
In conjunction with the nation’s 65th National Day and to reignite excitement for Hari Merdeka, especially after two years of low-key celebrations, a Merdeka-themed festival was organised by PMVSB in partnership with Think City, as well as Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the local communities.
Held in the thriving precinct of Merdeka 118 in Kampung Attap, PESZTA saw the community coming together to bring the festival to life.
Commenting on PESZTA, Zhongshan Building owner Liza Ho said, “PESZTA is the first time we are working together as neighbours in Kampung Attap since the Zhongshan Building opened in 2017. The diverse programme of PESZTA reflects our commitment to all kinds of arts. There was so much good energy from visitors who came that even the rain could not stop them from enjoying the festival.”
Edwin Jose Gomez of Sam Mansion also shared, “We have always envisioned the revitalisation of Sam Mansion and through PESZTA we witnessed the fantastic community spirit in the area, which has remained as strong as ever even after the pandemic. From fun family activities to musical performances and delicious food, the atmosphere was truly brimming with excitement.”
A clear reflection of the symbiotic relationship between PMVSB and the surrounding community, PESZTA was also aimed at supporting homegrown businesses within the precinct by encouraging footfall, as well as providing recipients of the Merdeka 118 Community Grants Programme a platform to showcase their products and services.
Situated just outside Sam Mansion, the community market featured up to 20 vendors displaying a wide variety of tasty treats and goods of the growing businesses driven by grant recipients.
This ranged from homemade food and beverages from Sinergi Aspirasi Global, baked goods, upcycled tote bags and express manicures from YWCA KL, as well as products made from stingless bees such as soap and honey from the International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) Smart Stingless Beekeeping Project, to name a few.
Persatuan Penduduk Perumahan Awam (PA) Sri Sarawak president and Smart Stingless Beekeeping Project participant Mohd Azmi Zakaria said, “PESZTA created a unique community space where small businesses and vendors come together to showcase what we have to offer. As such, I am pleased to be given the chance to demonstrate my entrepreneurial spirit by promoting our Kelulut Honey products that were harvested as a result of the community members’ hard work and guidance from IIUM. Through community engagements like this, I am also able to raise awareness on the various benefits of Kelulut Honey, which are surprisingly not known to many.”
Above all, PESZTA was part of PMVSB’s efforts to renew a spirit of patriotism among Malaysians by paying homage to the nation’s heritage and history. This was demonstrated through an interactive exhibition that features Stadium Merdeka set up at the Zhongshan Building annex.
It features never-seen-before footage and photos of Independence Day, as well as an interactive 360-degree virtual tour of Stadium Merdeka and the restoration efforts undertaken by PMVSB.
This is in line with PMVSB’s mandate as the sole custodian of this heritage site, which has been restored to its original 1957 state.
To shine a spotlight on budding talents, the K2K Merdeka Idol Talent contest featured five finalists from the surrounding PA communities of Hang Tuah, Sri Sarawak, Sri Selangor and Loke Yew competing for cash prizes worth up to RM1,500.
Other activities included a Merdeka Heritage Walk, which took visitors to Stadium Merdeka as part of the tour accompanied by a Heritage Talk, authentic wayang kulit performances and interactive cultural exhibitions. Visitors were also entertained by live music performances from popular local artists and up-and-coming indie bands.
As the first-ever event of its kind by PMVSB, PESZTA saw a positive response from the public attracting over 3,000 visitors throughout the festival.
According to PMVSB chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Ab. Aziz Tengku Mahmud, “PESZTA is just the beginning and PMVSB will continue to gain more interaction and engagement with the communities. Especially as we commemorate Hari Merdeka, ongoing community initiatives such as these enable us to create a sense of belonging and cultivate a strong community spirit, uniting and bringing together Malaysians from all walks of life. Rather than being an island on its own, we aim for the Merdeka 118 precinct to be a catalyst to unlock the power of the surrounding communities for greater collaboration and impact.”
Committed to empowering the local community and building resilient and sustainable businesses within the Merdeka 118 precinct, the second cycle of the Merdeka 118 Community Grants Programme is set to commence by the end of 2022.
For more information and updates, check out Merdeka 118 on Facebook.