PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn. Berhad (PMVSB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in collaboration with Think City Sdn Bhd – an urban rejuvenation organisation – launched the Merdeka 118 Community Grants Programme in June 2021.
Following an eight-week period, the grants programme received a total of 138 submissions from applicants across the nation.
With the objective to foster greater synergies between the community and the Merdeka 118 mixed-used development, six projects have been successfully selected after undergoing a rigorous evaluation process.
The selection process was conducted by a Review Panel comprising the PMVSB and Think City team, along with a Technical Advisory Panel represented by industry experts within the sports, arts, community, technology, conservation, and entrepreneurship development fields.
“Congratulations to the successful grant recipients, we look forward to collaborating on these exciting projects which the surrounding community stands to benefit from.” said PNB’s President and Group Chief Executive, Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn.
“The grants programme has provided a stepping-stone for Merdeka 118 to be part of the ongoing revitalisation of Kuala Lumpur. We are determined to connect with this neighbourhood and hope to collectively contribute towards its development in becoming a vibrant precinct.
“With this in mind, we believe that the selected projects will have a positive impact towards the wider community by further enhancing the liveability of the precinct and supporting local livelihoods whilst celebrating the area’s historical and cultural heritage,” he added.
Ahmad Zulqarnain emphasised the importance of building economic resilience within the community, especially with the current endemic.
“In adapting to the current challenging landscape, it has become even more crucial to encourage self-sustainable approaches to build resilience towards future disruptions.
“We hope that these projects will boost the social and economic wellbeing of the community, in addition to promoting great synergy and collaboration to foster sustainable growth,” he explained.
The grants programme focuses on five key locations, namely the Petaling Street Precinct, Jalan Hang Tuah Precinct, the Sports Quadrant , and the Kampung Attap and Pudu Precincts.
The successful projects include the Kampung Attap Collective, which aims to enrich the arts and heritage scene within the precinct through diverse creative programmes.
This ranges from a music show at Zhongshan Building, a book conservation and repair workshop at Tintabudi, and an art exhibition at The Back Room and Pentago House which draws on the history and heritage of the area’s architecture, amongst others.
Also selected, was the Eat, Pray, Love project at Petaling Street. Consisting of guided heritage walks to increase appreciation of the heritage of Kuala Lumpur, this initiative will incorporate Stadium Merdeka to provide both local and international visitors with insights into the rich history of the precinct.
Among other projects include the upgrading of a basketball court located on Jalan Hang Jebat. This is aimed at providing a safer and more conducive court for students and the youth in the area, as well as encourage healthier and active lifestyles.
The fourth project is a vocational training programme focusing on culinary and baking skills for disadvantaged women. The participants will be trained with skills which will provide them employment opportunities within the establishments in the area of the precinct once they graduate.
A novel programme offers a different approach to build business resiliency within the precinct via Smart Stingless Beekeeping. Through this programme, communities within selected PPRs surrounding the area will not only be educated on beekeeping techniques but will also be able to build sustainable income through commercialisation of the self-produced honey.
Finally, an Economic Empowerment Programme targets to uplift livelihoods and increase household income of the B40 community within the surrounding area by equipping them with necessary entrepreneurship and digital skills to create a sustainable business ecosystem.
The applications received all underwent an evaluation process to ensure that the projects are aligned with the grant programme’s objectives of reconnecting people to place, nurturing talent, celebrating heritage, navigating space, injection of new content, and catalysing entrepreneurship.
This concludes the first cycle of the Merdeka 118 community grants programme whereas the second cycle will open in 2022.