8 Iconic Towers in Malaysia and their stories

Towers, despite their functions, are generally landmarks for their states or countries. Some well-known examples include the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taipei 101 in Taipei, etc.

In conjunction with the Patriotic Month, let’s take a minute or two to appreciate these 8 iconic towers in Malaysia!

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

The PETRONAS Twin Towers located in Kuala Lumpur city centre.

  • Completion Date: 1 March 1996
  • Height: 451.9m

The Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world. The cross-section of the towers is based on a Rub el Hizb, albeit with circular sectors added to meet office space requirements. The tower evokes the image of Qutb Minar.

View from the Twin Towers’ Skybridge.

Petronas Twin Towers feature a double-decker Skybridge connecting the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors, which is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. It is not attached to the main structure but is instead designed to slide in and out of the towers to prevent it from breaking, as the towers sway several feet in towards and away from each other during high winds.

Kuala Lumpur Tower, Kuala Lumpur

KL Tower is the tallest telecommunication tower in Malaysia.

  • Completion Date: 1 March 1995
  • Height: 420m

The KL Tower is a communications tower located in Kuala Lumpur and is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world. It features an 86m high antenna. The upper area of the tower contains a revolving restaurant that provides diners with a panoramic view of the city.

The Famous 360° Restaurant on the rooftop of KL Tower.

Races are held annually, where participants race up the stairs to the top. The tower also acts as the Islamic falak observatory to observe the crescent moon which marks the beginning of Muslim month of Ramadhan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to celebrate fasting month of Ramadhan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji.

Bangunan Parlimen (Malaysian Houses of Parliament), Kuala Lumpur

  • Completion Date: September 1963
  • Height: 77m

The Bangunan Parlimen is a building complex where the Malaysian Parliament assembles. The complex was constructed during the period when the federal government was based in Kuala Lumpur. While the vast majority of government operations has moved to Putrajaya since the late-1990s, the parliament continues to convene at Kuala Lumpur’s Parliament House.

Although the Bangunan Parlimen has only weakly represented the Malaysian government to the world, it is symbolic as that in Malaysia. It has been prominently featured on the reverse of the first series sen coins and the first and second series RM1000 banknotes.

KOMTAR Tower, Penang Island

  • Completion Year: 1986
  • Height: 232m

The KOMTAR Tower, in the city of George Town in Penang, Malaysia, is Penang’s tallest skyscraper and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia. KOMTAR is an acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, named after the second Prime Minister of Malaysia.

In 2015, as part of a revitalisation plan, three more storeys were added, raising the height of KOMTAR Tower to 249 metres. In addition, KOMTAR Tower is home to the Rainbow Skywalk, the highest glass skywalk in Malaysia, which has been installed at the top of the skyscraper and launched in 2016. Further efforts to revitalise KOMTAR include the launch of The Gravityz, billed as the world’s highest rope course, at the exterior of the skyscraper’s 65th floor in 2018.

Tourists experiencing The Gravityz on the top of KOMTAR Tower.

Alor Setar Tower, Alor Setar

  • Completion Date: 14 August 1997
  • Height: 165.5m

The Alor Setar Tower is a telecommunication tower in Alor Setar, Kedah. Apart from serving the role of a telecommunication tower, it also caters as a tourist destination for the town. The tower also houses some restaurants and a souvenir shop.

The tower is an observatory tower to look for the crescent moon to mark the beginning of Muslim months such as Ramadhan, Shawwal, and Zulhijjah, to celebrate Ramadhan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji, respectively.

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, Teluk Intan

  • Construction Year: 1885
  • Height: 25m

The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan is a clock tower in Teluk Intan, Perak. It is the Malaysian equivalent of the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The tower is slanted leftward, similar to the Tower of Pisa.

It is 25.5 metres tall and, from the outside, looks like an 8 storey building, though inside it is actually divided into 3 storeys. The pagoda-style structure was greatly influenced by Chinese architecture because the majority of the population of the town at that time was Chinese.

The Clock Tower features an 18.36 cubic metres steel water tank that used to store water for locals during the drought season, in case of fire. The reasons why the tower leans is the soft ground on which it was built, as well as the weight of the water in the water tank, which causes it to lean towards the southwest.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur

  • Completion Year: 1897
  • Height: 41m

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building located in front of the Dataran Merdeka originally housed the offices of the British colonial administration and was known simply as Government Offices in its early years. Currently, it houses both the offices of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia.

Every year, in the morning of Merdeka Day (31 August) as well as Malaysia Day (16 September), thousands of spectators converge on the city to watch the colourful parade along the streets of the city and performances held at the Merdeka Square, in front of this building.

The 122 years old clock has only stopped once. It was on Merdeka Day in 1987 at 1 am. It took the team of people who maintained it six hours to fix until they finally realised that it stopped working because of a screw that had fallen off.

Birch Memorial Clock Tower, Ipoh

  • Opening Year: 1909

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower in Ipoh, Perak was constructed to commemorate James W. W. Birch, the first British Resident of the state of Perak and unveiled in 1909 at a cost of $25,000. The clock tower is located in a square with a portrait bust and four panels illustrative of the growth of civilization. It has a mother bell and four smaller bells which used to strike the chimes.

Each of the four panels depicts the exponents of the different stages of civilization:

Panel A (North) Panel B (West) Panel C (South) Panel D (East)
The Stone Age:

A Hunter, A Fisherman, A Woman spinning.


The Iron Age:

A man and a woman


The Early Eastern Peoples:

A Nubian with gold and ivory, A Chaldean Astrologer, A Woman making pottery, An Egyptian, An Assyrian, A Persian.

The Eastern Mediterranean:

Moses, David, A Phoenician, A woman representing the Agean civilization.


The Far East:

Confucius, Buddha, Lao Tzu.


Greece and Rome:

A woman representing Greek Art, Alexander the Great, Plato, Augustus.

The Byzantine Empire:

Constantine the Great.





The Age of Chivalry:

A Crusader.


The Age of Faith:

Saint Clare of Assisi


Gothic Art:

Saint Thomas Aquinas


The Renaissance:

Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, Columbus.


The Reformation:

Martin Luther.


The Elizabethan Age:

William Shakespeare.

Modern Science, Art and Social Services:

Isaac Newton, William Harvey, James Watt, An unnamed Embroiderer, Beethoven, Robert Stephenson, Louis Daguerre, Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin, Thomas Alva Edison, Joseph Lister.


How many of these towers have you visited before? Let’s share it with everyone on your Insta Story!

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