TRANSIT notes this article in which the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya has publicly opposed the handover of KTMB Headquarters to a private company for redevelopment.
However, KTMB Managing Director Dr. Aminuddin says that no decision has been made.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Railway men’s Union of Malaya is against any move to hand over the historic Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd headquarters to a private company to be developed.
Its president Abdul Razak Md Hassan said in a statement yesterday that KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan had on April 7 announced that the building which was located on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin would be given to a company.
However, when contacted yesterday, Dr Aminuddin said no such decision had been made.
This is the latest in a series of conflicts between the union and the new head of the national railway operator who was appointed to helm KTMB late last year.
Earlier, the union opposed Dr Aminuddin’s setting up of a separate company to operate the yet-to-be-launched electric express train service between Seremban and Ipoh via Kuala Lumpur.
In his statement yesterday, Abdul Razak said the union was not surprised that there could be a move to hand over the building to a private company to develop.
“We are against the decision to hand over the building to the private sector,” he said, adding that the union would send a memorandum to the Prime Minister.
It is understood that the building is owned by the Government through the Railway Assets Corporation.
Talk has been rife for years that several private companies have been eyeing the building, a well-known Kuala Lumpur landmark which was built early last century, to be developed into a high-end hotel.
Under a privatisation exercise, YTL, which owns and operates a string of up-market hotels, will gain ownership of the former Majestic Hotel which is located next to the KTMB headquarters.
It was reported that YTL would be carrying out renovation work of the building’s interior and a new block with 300 rooms and other luxury hotel amenities will be added.
The KTMB Headquarters is an historic building, popular with many visitors to Malaysia for its architectural flair.
Anyone who has looked at wedding photos would also recognize the KTMB Headquarters as featuring in the wedding photos of many people. (Moaz from TRANSIT even thought of having some of his wedding photos taken at KTMB HQ).
So with all the important history, you can imagine that many people would be worried about the status of the building and ensuring that it is protected.
Now, the main question is whether it is cost-effective or not for KTMB to retain the building as headquarters. We would love to see this discussed in a public forum and invite KTMB and the RMU to contact us to present their arguments and share it with the public here.