Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan has announced that an agreement on the High-Speed Rail (HSR) between Malaysia and Singapore will be signed by the end of the year, most likely around 21 December.
The signing of the agreement was previously scheduled next Monday (5 December). However, due to scheduling and administrative matters, both sides agreed to change the date.
In a statement on Thursday (1 December), Mr Abdul said that he had already met the Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday (29 November) to discuss the remaining details of the agreement. It said that both had agreed to “fine-tune some details in the bilateral agreement”.
The statement said, “Both sides are now taking the necessary follow-up action to comply with their respective internal procedures and legal requirements for the signing of this agreement.”
Mr Abdul also said, “All other issues have been ironed out.”
While, in response to media queries, Mr Khaw said, “There has been excellent progress on negotiations for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Bilateral Agreement.”
He also stated that both sides are finalising the text of the agreement and “look forward to its signing at the coming Leaders’ Retreat soon.”
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the High-Speed Railway project that will link Singapore and Malaysia was signed on 19 July by representatives from the two neighbouring countries. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.
Singapore Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan along with Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Rahman Dahlan signed the agreement.
According to The Straits Times, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that both sides are “working to hold the retreat soon”.
Its spokesman said, “We are in the process of finalising the key deliverables for the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat.”
Mr Khaw said, “There has been excellent progress on the negotiations for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Bilateral Agreement. Both Malaysia and Singapore are finalising the text and look forward to its signing at the coming Leaders’ Retreat soon.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Malaysia’s Bernama news agency that both sides had made “very good progress” on the agreement on Monday (28 November).
He also said that both sides will have a “very difficult decision” evaluating the bidders who submit their interest.as there are several high-speed rail systems, from Japan, Korea and China, which have been lobbying very hard to get the contract.
The 350 km-long HSR line will cut off the travel time from Malaysia to Singapore from 4 hours drive to just 90 minutes in a train travel. It will travel at a top speed of 300km/hour.
The terminus in Malaysia will be at Bandar Malaysia, while the one in Singapore will be at Jurong East. And Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri and Putrajaya were said to be the transit stops.
Besides the non-stop Singapore-KL express service and the domestic service within Malaysia, shuttle service between Singapore and Iskandar Puteri in Johor will be available.
To reduce hassle, passengers will be able to clear customs, immigration and quarantine for both countries at their point of departure. Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities will be located by both governments at three locations, Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Kuala Lumpur.
It is expected to start in 2018 and targeted to be up and running by around 2026.