KUALA LUMPUR (ANN): South-east Asia's tallest building, standing at 492m, is now ready for occupation.
With its completion, the Exchange 106 skyscraper has officially dethroned the Petronas Twin Towers, at 452m, as the tallest in Malaysia.
The new tower also dethroned the region's previous champion, Vietnam's completed Landmark 81 project, which is 469.5m tall.
In comparison, Singapore's tallest building Guoco Tower in Tanjung Pagar is only 290m high, while Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world tallest, reaches 830m at its highest tip.
The Exchange 106 office block is located in the Tun Razak Exchange, or TRX, an upcoming financial district in Kuala Lumpur that was originally developed by scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
TRX was the pet project of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and named after his father, who was also Malaysia's second prime minister, Tun Razak Hussein.
Exchange 106 is owned by Indonesian developer Mulia Property Development while TRX is owned by the Ministry of Finance.
Najib is currently facing trial for corruption and money-laundering relating to funds allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB.
The shiny skyscraper, whose building cost has not been made public, recently received its certificate of "completion and compliance", allowing for tenants to move into its 4.9 million sq ft of office space, across 106 floors.
"The Exchange 106 offers column-free and long spans of office space ranging from 22,000 sq ft to 34,000 sq ft, the largest columnless space in Malaysia. These are designed for flexible layouts and open plan interior configurations," said Exchange 106 in a statement issued on Wednesday (Oct 2).
The first tenants are expected to move in by December, said Ms Joanne Ang, head of leasing for Mulia Property Development.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in February that the Pakatan Harapan government, which defeated Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition in last year's polls, had decided to complete the Exchange 106 tower as it was financially viable.
"Rest assured that the TRX is detoxified," Mr Lim told reporters then.
"We are slowly, but surely exorcising the ghosts of 1MDB which has tainted Malaysia as the destination for business and investment."
When the Petronas Twin Towers was completed in 1998, the 88-storey office towers were the world's tallest buildings.
The twin blocks were built during Tun Mahathir Mohamad's first stint as prime minister from 1981 to 2003. Today, he is prime minister again.
But Exchange 106 is expected to soon lose its bragging rights as the tallest because not far from where it stands in Kuala Lumpur, builders are busy completing the 500m high Merdeka PNB 118.
It is being developed by Malaysia's national equity fund Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and is expected to be ready by next year. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network