Public transport and not property development is on MRT Corp's minds, the company's chief says.
Its CEO, Azhar Abdul Hamid, said that at the moment, building the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT railway through the Bukit Bintang area, was its top priority.
“It must be clarified that there has never been any plan to acquire BB Plaza. Our principal focus at present is to build the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) MRT line.
“We don’t want to be distracted by property development at this stage. All our discussions with the finance ministry have always been about finding solutions to address the prime minister’s concerns,” he said in a press statement.
Azhar was responding to concerns raised in a recent Malaysian Insider report, where Malay businesses in the area would be at risk once MRT Corp takes over BB Plaza in 2013.
The report added that the occupants of the shopping mall – one of the oldest, and most frequented in Kuala Lumpur – would have to move out so that MRT Corp can build an underground station there.
It also said that BB Plaza businesses knew few details of the compensation for being asked to move.
According to the statement, discussions were held between Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Jalan Bukit Bintang traders as well as property owners after Najib raised concerns of a planned five-year closure of businesses here.
In his statement, Azhar did not mention compensation.
However, he said that the upcoming underground Bukit Bintang station presented “several golden opportunities” for UDA Holdings, BB Plaza’s owner.
BB Plaza, he said, would be able to share the redevelopment process going on in the area.
This process, once extended to the mall, would also help Bumiputera traders there.
“With this mall redevelopment, the opportunity exists to re-invent the Bumiputera agenda and make it better,” Azhar said.