• "We are aware of the various problems with the old building, hence RAC offered to relocate without rent, free of charge."

KUALA LUMPUR (March 12): Transport Minister Anthony Loke has stressed that his ministry has never directed or pressured for the headquarters of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB), which is more than a century old, to be vacated and relocated, as claimed by some parties.

Loke stated that instead, the Railway Assets Corporation (RAC), as the owner of the building, offered KTMB to move to Menara RAC completed last year on Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, free of charge.

"We are aware of the various problems with the old building, hence RAC offered to relocate without rent, free of charge. There is no question of RAC forcing KTMB to move because it's merely an offer. If KTMB refuses, RAC can lease it to private parties and generate rental income.

"There has never been any suggestion that if the building is vacated, it will be handed over to any private company like YTL. That is a heritage building, a historical building of the nation, undoubtedly owned by the government through RAC," he said.

He said this when winding up debate on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address for the Ministry of Transport in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

Regarding Menara RAC, he said it was built in collaboration with YTL Corporation, which had been long planned and initiated when he was the transport minister in 2018.

Meanwhile, Loke said, currently there is no process of relocation from the building constructed by the British during the heyday of railways in Malaya.

"The offer, whether accepted or not, has not been decided, if KTMB does not want to accept it, it is up to the KTMB board of directors, MOT will not force relocation," he said, adding that all assets and properties under KTMB are placed under RAC.

He said that if the heritage building is vacated, conservation and restoration projects, similar to those undertaken by Khazanah Nasional Berhad on the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the National Mosque, can be carried out.

According to information shared on the KTMB Facebook page, the KTMB building, completed on Sept 29, 1917, has suffered major damage twice in the northern wing due to bombings during World War II and a fire incident on the second floor of the same section on Nov 14, 1968.

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