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MRT Corp confirms Azhar has resigned as chairman after serving less than 10 months

KUALA LUMPUR (March 11): Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) has confirmed the resignation of Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid as its chairman and director. 

The resignation is with effect from Monday (March 7), MRT Corp said in a statement on Thursday.  

“MRT Corp takes this opportunity to express our gratitude for the commitment and invaluable contribution made by Datuk Wira Azhar during his tenure and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours,” the company added.

MRT Corp did not give any other details in its brief statement.

The Edge, quoting a source familiar with the matter, reported on Wednesday that Azhar had tendered his resignation as MRT Corp chairman, barely 10 months into the role, after having "a difference of opinion" on the implementation of the Mass Rapid Transit 3 (MRT3) Circle Line project. 

Azhar, who also served as FGV Holdings Bhd’s chairman from 2017 to April 2021, had helmed the then newly formed MRT Corp as its first CEO for three years from 2011 to 2014. 

Azhar however, made an unprecedented move in 2014 after announcing his resignation as the MRT Corp CEO, following an incident at the MRT Sungai Buloh work site that claimed three lives — a move that is rarely seen in corporate Malaysia. 

Azhar held several other key positions in the corporate scene after leaving MRT Corp previously, including as chairman of MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, group managing director of Malakoff Corp Bhd, and president/group managing director and later chairman of Tradewinds Corp Bhd. 

The Edge report on Wednesday noted that Azhar's resignation came shortly after the government gave MRT Corp the green light to proceed with the implementation of the MRT3 project. Putrajaya's approval for the project was obtained on March 4.

The tender for the project is still pending, hence the cost of the development is still unknown. The MRT3 Circle Line will span about 50km and have a circular alignment running along the perimeter of the city of Kuala Lumpur, and comprise elevated and underground sections and have 31 stations.

For its financial year ended Dec 31, 2020, MRT Corp's after-tax loss widened to RM8.94 billion, 22.4% more compared with RM7.3 billion a year ago.

As at end-December 2020, MRT Corp's accumulated losses had ballooned to RM52.98 billion, with total assets of RM4.03 billion and total liabilities of RM2.81 billion. 

The first line of the MRT to be implemented was the 46km Kajang Line (previously known as Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line), which runs through the city centre of Kuala Lumpur to Kajang. The line was fully operational in July 2017.

 The second line, dubbed the Putrajaya Line, which is 57.7km in length and set to commence operations next year, will span from Kwasa Damansara in Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya.

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