Minister Khaw Boon Wan Inks New High Speed Rail Agreement With Malaysia
Singaporeans planning their next KL trip via high speed train can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.
A 2-year deferment for the High Speed Rail project has been inked officially in a brand new agreement with Malaysia.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan sealed the deal with Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya at 2pm today (5 Sep).
This process was witnessed by:
- Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (Malaysia)
- Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (Singapore)
- Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Malaysia)
In other words, this is literally as official as it gets.
Hopefully there will be no more flip-flopping on the issue henceforth.
2-year deferment for HSR
The official date for the project to commence is now 31 May 2020.
As for the official reason for the deferment? Malaysia would like to be “allow(ed) time to review its finances”.
If Malaysia does not give the go-ahead for the project by the stipulated date, it’s liable to the RM500 million cancellation penalty.
HSR services to start by 1 Jan 2031
Malaysia will be bearing the costs of this project suspension for 2 years — an agreed sum of S$15 million.
The penalty must be paid before end-January 2019 to Singapore.
Express services of the HSR are also expected to begin on 1 Jan 2031, instead of 31 Dec 2026 under the new agreement.
Compensation for lost time
Minister Khaw Boon Wan previously mentioned that planning for the HSR had already cost Singapore a whopping S$250 million by July 2018.
PM Mahathir then declared in July that the HSR would be “deferred” instead — a vast change from the rhetoric he displayed earlier in May.
Citing reasons that the HSR would not benefit Malaysians, Dr M vowed to scrap the project entirely.
One heck of a ride
After countless twists and turns regarding the HSR project, we’re glad that both countries have finally come to a consensus.
We hope Malaysia will keep their word to prevent incurring further costs for both parties.
However, we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any more news about Malaysia changing her mind again.
Call it PTSD if you will.