Singapore has expressed surprise over a comment made by Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission’s chief executive Mohamad Nur Ismal Kamal that Malaysia prefers to end a high-speed rail (HSR) between Singapore and Malaysia at the existing customs building (CIQ) in Johor Bahru.
Nur Ismal made his comments in an interview with business magazine The Edge Malaysia, saying (as quoted in Channel NewsAsia), “From our perspective, by terminating it at the CIQ, the entire project will be within our borders and we will have more control of it.”
In a press statement, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) said both countries had agreed on terminus points in 2013: while Malaysia would have its terminus point in Bandar Malaysia, the terminus in Singapore would be in Jurong East.
MOT also said that Singapore understood that “Malaysia views the commercial premise of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project, and with which we agree, as being based on a direct connection between the two city centres. Terminating the HSR in Johor Bahru will not achieve this objective.”
The statement added that Singapore had proposed that transit HSR services within Malaysia – which involves six stations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur – be operated separately from an express HSR service that will run non-stop between the two capitals.
“This will give Malaysia autonomy over the domestic transit services to serve Malaysia’s domestic needs and benefit Malaysia, while both countries work together on the cross-border HSR services,” MOT said.
Stretching for about 330 kilometres, the HSR, once in operation, is expected to be able to halve door-to-door travel times between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Estimated costs for the construction of the rail stand at about RM40 billion (approximately S$14,280,823,339).