KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 ― Six former Umno presidents went “on stage” together with Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to witness the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony of the Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, a new icon for the city.
The six were the late Datuk Onn Jaafar who was the founder of Umno and its first President, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the late Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
All were clad in “baju Melayu” complete with “samping” and “songkok”, appearing for two minutes on the main stage in a symbolic display of the legacy and success of Umno.
Their presence at the event was made possible through sophisticated 3D holograms shown on giant screens which filled the walls of the hall where it was held.
At the event, Najib and his predecessors shouted out “Hidup Umno” in unison three times.
PWTC KL is set to become the new office address and six-star hotel in a 70-storey tower block which will house the Dewan Putrade, a redeveloped Dewan Tun Razak 1 and 2 into a huge new world-class hall, as well as an upgrading of the existing buildings, namely Menara Dato Onn, Dewan Merdeka, Dewan Tun Hussein Onn and Dewan Tun Dr Ismail.
The Menara 70 tower block which will symbolise Umno's 70 years, will be built at the Hentian Putra site, with a floor area of 1.2 million square feet (111,484 square metres) opposite the PWTC, and will be the new headquarters for the party.
Other than the six former presidents, the screens also showed the hologram images of two main rail transport systems, the Electric Train Service (ETS) and the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) which were developed during Najib's time.
The ETS links Gemas in Negri Sembilan to Padang Besar in Perlis while the MRT is still being built, which will link Sungai Buloh to Kajang and Sungai Buloh to Serdang and Putrajaya.
The ground-breaking ceremony began steeped in Malay customs as Najib and the Umno top leadership were escorted into the hall, accompanied by “heroes” and “heroines” to the main stage.
The march also included members of the Umno Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings representing 13 states.
Mesmerising music from a violin played by music teacher Endang Hyder, 30, who played two songs “viva la vida” and “zapin budi” left the audience in awe.
After Najib gave his speech, PWTC Chairman Tan Sri Alies Anor Abdul presented a replica of the key to the prime minister in a symbolic gesture of the event. ― Bernama