A bilateral agreement on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) has been signed by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan and was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak in Putrajaya on Tuesday (13 december).
The agreement set the stage for design, build, finance and maintain the civil infrastructure and operate the HSR stations in their respective territories. The service is targeting to start by 31 December 2026. Singapore’s appointed infrastructure entity is the Land Transport Authority, while for Malaysia, it is MyHSR.
The bilateral agreement came after 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.
Under the agreement, the HSR lines in Singapore and Malaysia are to be linked by a bridge over the Straits of Johor with a height clearance of 25m above the water level. Of the entire rail system, 335km will lie in Malaysia while, 15km in Singapore, in which most of it will be underground on our side.
The plan is to have eight stations between Singapore and Malaysia with the two terminal stations at Jurong East in Singapore and Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. The other six stations will be at Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri.
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 agreement said that Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities will also be co-located at Singapore, Bandar Malaysia and Iskandar Puteri, which means that international passengers will only need to undergo both Singapore and Malaysia CIQ clearance at the point of departure.
Both countries will call for a joint tender for an international operator to run the KL-Singapore express service and the cross-border shuttle service between Iskandar Puteri. It was also said that Malaysia will put up a tender for a domestic operator to run the domestic service within the country. Meanwhile, another joint tender for a privately financed assets company to operate and maintain rail assets will also be called next year.
The next plan is to form a bilateral committee comprising representatives from both countries to manage aspects of the project which might impact cross-border services.
The construction is expected to start in 2018. Therefore, a joint tender for the system will be opened in the fourth quarter of next year. By that time, the two countries are expected to make a decision on who to award the rail system to by the end of 2018.
In early 2017, a Joint Development Partner (JDP), will provide advice on operational, technical and procurement matters relating to the high speed railway systems and operations, will also be appointed to assist in the development of the HSR project after a tender was called in August this year.