Inside Southeast Asia�s tallest skyscraper once roiled by 1MDB

Published on 01 Jan 1970. | Source:

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 23): Southeast Asia’s tallest skyscraper was once shadowed by the 1MDB scandal that has upended Malaysian politics and implicated global banks in criminal cases. It now seeks to shed that past by wowing prospective tenants with marble walls and mirrored ceilings.

The developer on Wednesday gave the media a sneak peak at the inside of The Exchange 106 building, which is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

The skyscraper is the centerpiece of Kuala Lumpur’s new financial district called the Tun Razak Exchange, named after former leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s late father and the nation’s second prime minister. Najib is facing trial for dozens of charges linked to his role in 1MDB, which lies at the center of global investigations into alleged corruption and money-laundering involving US$4.5 billion.

The skyscraper soars 492 meters (1,614 feet) high, dethroning the city’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers and the Landmark 81 tower in Ho Chi Minh City to become the region’s tallest.

Construction of the Tun Razak Exchange, which was started by 1MDB, was at risk of being halted amid investigations into the troubled state fund. It was later placed under the finance ministry that invested RM2.8 billion (US$620 million) to continue the project, which in its entirety has a gross development value of more than RM40 billion.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has sought to assure investors and potential tenants that the project was “detoxified” of its 1MDB stain. That the Tun Razak Exchange could bring in an additional RM2.15 billion in funding from a consortium of banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc is a sign of faith in Malaysia’s ability to put the past behind, he said in February.

“We are slowly, but surely exorcising the ghosts of 1MDB which has tainted Malaysia as the destination for business and investment,” Lim said.

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