On the first few days of January 2023, Twitter was buzzing with the news of a Russian couple who had allegedly climbed atop the Merdeka 118 Tower, which is considered the second tallest building in the world.
Angela Nikolau and her partner posted several videos to their Instagram page, which is adorned with other footage of them climbing skyscrapers, as well as a thread on Twitter detailing the climb.
Check them out below:
View this post on Instagram
⚡️The time has come and I’d love to share the giga story how I climbed the incredible Merdeka 118⚡️
Couldn’t help adding @steveaoki music here as it was playing in my head when I was standing on top of the world.
Feel the dizziness of being there with me
Back to the story pic.twitter.com/PYtwbzLX9T
— Angela Nikolau (@AngelaNikolau_) January 4, 2023
While many of Nikolau’s fans (and even a handful of Malaysians) praised the daredevil couple for their “feat”, others responded to the video and thread by saying that it was disrespectful of them to trespass the area.
What made matters worse was Nikolau’s “disguise”, which was a hijab that she quickly took off to “cool down” from the heat of climbing the tower. Especially since Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, it’s not hard to see why many people took offence to this.
Apart from the obvious controversy surrounding the trespassing, netizens were also riddled in scepticism when the owner of the building released a statement saying that it would be “almost impossible” for this stunt to occur due to the tight security at the premises, as reported by The Vibes.
Gm my fav community in the world❤️
I’ve done something crazy and escaped imprisonment – it was a living nightmare with a happy ending
⚡️I have climbed the second highest building in the world – MERDEKA TOWER!⚡️
— Angela Nikolau (@AngelaNikolau_) December 28, 2022
Authorities suggested that the video and her climb were fake and digitally-altered. While that dampened the rumours momentarily, debates began to circulate again when another group of daredevils posted their own video climbing the same tower.
Retired American army-veteran, Isaac “Drift” Wright, who also calls himself Driftershoots on social media, recently posted a 7-minute video climbing the Merdeka 118 Tower onto YouTube, drawing more attention towards the building, despite it still being in construction.
The video shows four individuals, dressed as construction workers, trespassing the area and ultimately, reaching the top to shoot their obligatory victory video.
Watch it below:
Initially, there was reasonable doubt regarding the authenticity of Nikolau’s videos but now, with another video posted by a different foreigner, it’s beginning to look like the Merdeka 118 Tower is in desperate need of tighter security.
While some netizens are poking fun at the tower’s abysmal security through memes, others are beginning to ask more critical questions.
Be honest. Who here has actually heard of this building prior to the news of the trespassings?
At most, Malaysians are aware of the existence of the building simply because it is the tallest building in our country, which makes it stick out like a sore thumb.
The building’s sharp antenna was also the subject of ridicule at one point – with some netizens calling it “cheating” in order to be recognised as one of the tallest buildings in the world.
So, why are we hearing all this buzz now?
According to The Edge Markets, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), the owners of the building, will be moving its operations to Merdeka 118 Tower within the first half of 2023.
PNB has also asked several investee companies to take-up space in the tower while the top 17 floors will be allocated for a Park Hyatt hotel.
Can you guess when the hotel will be welcoming guests? If you guessed the year 2023, you would be right.
As mentioned above by the fellow inhabitants of Twitter, these sensationalised stories could be a form of marketing but of course, it’s easier to jump to conclusions than to scale a building and as of right now, the ends definitely do not justify the means, especially when safety and imprisonment are at stake.
It’s also curious how the two group of foreigners are both white, since Malaysia has been very generous with our kindness towards white people who encroach our country to take advantage of us (read: begpackers).
When you combine our leniency towards white people with their tendency to commit blatant crimes, yet get away with it, it’s not hard to see why they would be the best pawns in this game, especially when they can gain a tremendous amount of attention from it as well to boost their careers.
However, we should remember that while speculating and spinning our own intricate web of conspiracies can be fun, it’s best that we sit tight and wait for more information to surface.
At the time of writing, the case is being investigated under the Penal Code for trespassing and there have been zero statements addressing the rumours of a potential marketing scheme.