Malaysia Hopes To Resume KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail Project With Faster Timeline
The Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project is one that Singaporeans and Malaysians are both familiar with.
Spanning 350km, the railway would have had seven stations, cutting travel time between Singapore and KL to 90 minutes. After several back-and-forths, transport ministries in both countries eventually terminated the project.
Now, it seems that Malaysia is hoping to revive the project once again. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has confirmed that the country is in discussions with Singapore regarding the matter.
Malaysia in discussions to resume high-speed rail project
According to The Straits Times (ST), Mr Ismail confirmed his country’s hope to resume work on the HSR project during an interview on Monday (22 Aug).
He told Bernama that Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong is leading the discussions to do so with Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran.
If they are successful, the project will begin work at the earliest date possible and on a faster timeline. There would also be some additional changes to the terms and conditions of the project.
Datuk Seri Ismail reportedly explained that the urgency is due to Malaysia’s plans to establish the HSR between KL and Bangkok too.
Malaysia subsequently intends to extend the railway line to China, which is currently building a high-speed train line with Thailand.
Discussions on project trace back to 2016
Progress on the HSR project first started in December 2016, when PM Lee and then Malaysian PM Najib Razak oversaw the signing of a legally binding bilateral agreement.
Singapore began work on the railway, appointing a company to design its infrastructure. However, Malaysia requested for the project to be suspended following the General Election in May 2018.
Four months later, both countries decided to temporarily stop the project for two more years. As a result, Malaysia had to reimburse Singapore S$15 million.
The project then experienced a further setback on 31 May 2020 when Singapore agreed to suspend it for seven additional months at Malaysia’s request.
Both countries finally terminated the project on 31 Dec 2020 after failing to reach an agreement.
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