The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) Project will be deferred for another seven months for Malaysia to deliberate on proposed changes to the commercial and technical aspects of the project.
This was confirmed by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) via a statement issued on Sunday afternoon.
“We confirm that the Government of Malaysia has informed Singapore that it would like to propose some changes to the High Speed Rail (HSR) Project, and has requested a seven-month extension to allow both sides to discuss Malaysia’s proposal.” wrote MOT.
The HSR project was announced in 2010 with rail distance coverage of 350 kilometres between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It will also minimise travel time to only 90 minutes as opposed to 11 hours by regular train.
Malaysia and Singapore reached an agreement in September 2018 to delay the project which Malaysia wanted to cancel due to the high cost.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan posted on his Facebook page on the same day, stating that Singapore continues to believe that the HSR Project is a mutually beneficial project that will strengthen the connectivity and people-to-people ties between the two countries.
He added, “In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore has agreed to a final extension of the HSR Project suspension by seven months to 31 December 2020. We look forward to receiving Malaysia’s formal proposal on the changes to the HSR Project soon, so that both sides can begin discussion immediately.” and that the request came from Malaysian Senior Minister Azmin Ali has requested.
Mr Khaw wrote that the extension should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes.
He pointed out that the HSR project is a complex project, and both sides have to be convinced that the changes do not undermine the original intent of the project.
“I remain optimistic that a HSR linking our two capitals will benefit both our peoples.”
Senior Minister Azmin also posted on his Facebook page in regards to the HSR project, noting that he has been asked by the Malaysian Cabinet to lead the Malaysian team in the discussions with the Singapore Government on the HSR project.