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PM Mahathir: Malaysian government will review all foreign projects including KL-S’pore HSR

There has been uncertainty over mega infrastructure projects like the HSR after the unexpected win of Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition led by Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad,

The new Malaysian government will review all foreign contracts and projects, including the 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project and those under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Malaysian new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last Saturday (12 May) at a press conference.

“With regard to all those contracts, we will review them to see how they favour us,” he explained.

Planned with 320 km/h operational speed, the HSR project deal was signed in December 2016 with the Najib administration, and was expected to begin operations in 2026.

But Dr Mahathir has opposed the HSR project; he has said in a press interview last year that Malaysia has to know whether the HSR was really needed or not. He was concerned of the debt Malaysia would have to take on.

During the election campaign, he also has pledged to review all mega projects sanctioned by Barisan Nasional under former PM Najib Razak. However, Dr Mahathir said yesterday that despite the review, Malaysia would ‘maintain friendly relations with all countries’.

Analysts said that the fate of the HSR is still uncertain. Due to requests from bidders the deadline for the primary tender has been pushed back from June to December, and after the election this may be delayed further.