Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, today (13 December) for the 7th Malaysia-Singapore Leader’s Retreat With Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak where one of the agendas is to witness the signing of the bilateral agreement on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR).
The agreement will be signed by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
A Press Release by Prime Minister Office (PMO) on Monday (12 December) said that the signing of the Bilateral Agreement is a culmination of intensive bilateral discussions since the 2013 Leaders’ Retreat, and furthers the good progress made by both sides since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in July 2016.
“It also demonstrates the two Governments’ commitment to the project, which will boost connectivity, strengthen economic ties and enhance people-to-people linkages when completed,” it added.
Prime Minister Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee and a high-level delegation comprising Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean; Minister Khaw Boon Wan; Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu; Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong; Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli; Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng; Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah; Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee; and Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min.
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.
However, Malaysian opposition had issued a statement which was released on Tuesday (6 December). Members of Parliament from Pakatan Harapan said they want Malaysia to be open about the income Malaysia will derive from this project and how the cost of construction will be borne by both nations.
The statement wrote, “The project involves huge amounts of the country’s finances and a lot of citizens’ land is expected to be taken by the government to construct the HSR. Therefore, the government should not keep information about this project secret like a Third World country.”
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.
Construction is expected to start in 2018 and targeted to be up and running by around 2026.