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Malaysia invites proposals for revival of Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project

MALAYSIA — In an effort to revive the long-awaited Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR) project, Malaysia has announced its call for concept proposals from local and international firms and consortiums.

MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd (MyHSR Corp), the company overseeing the project, revealed on Tuesday (11 Jul) that it is initiating a Request For Information (RFI) exercise, enabling the private sector to officially submit their proposals through a public-private partnership model.

Following a successful input-gathering exercise conducted in March, MyHSR Corp engaged with selected private companies to gauge interest, capabilities, and resource requirements necessary to ensure the sustainability of the project.

To facilitate the Malaysian government’s decision-making process, the RFI exercise is now open to both local and international firms and consortia to submit their concept proposals.

Malaysian Transport Minister says a few companies had approached the ministry to show their interest

on Thursday (13 Jul), Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke confirmed that several companies had expressed their interest in the project.

However, he emphasised that the ministry’s objective was to gather information and proposals, and therefore, he refrained from naming any specific company.

“At the end of the day, the evaluation and assessment will be conducted by our professionals in MyHSR Corp,” he said.

MyHSR Corp, a company incorporated in 2015, is whollyowned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) and under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport Malaysia.

Mr Loke clarified that the purpose of the RFI was to assess the feasibility of the HSR project under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The RFI was open to all companies, granting them access to previously conducted documents and studies.

“By having the RFI, of course, we can have more detailed proposals,” he said the RFI enable them to access documents that have been conducted by MyHSR Corp and studies that have been done before.

While companies could purchase these reports, they would be subject to non-disclosure agreements. Minister Loke expressed hope that the companies would utilize this information to conduct their own analyses and develop proposals through MyHSR Corp.

“From there, we will proceed to see how feasible the project can be undertaken by the private sector,” he said, adding that it was just at the feasibility stage and “we are not going to award anything yet”.

MyHSR Corp Chairman firmly believes in the enormous benefits of KL-SG HSR

Earlier, Chairman of MyHSR Corp, Dato’ Sri Haji Fauzi Bin Abdul Rahman, expressed his strong belief in the tremendous benefits that the KL-SG HSR project would bring to the people.

He emphasized that it would enhance and expand economic dynamism from the Klang Valley to the Southern Corridor of the peninsula, and ultimately benefit the entire nation.

In addition to providing a new travel option that is safer, faster, more efficient and sustainable, the project will help us to contribute to the agenda of Malaysia MADANI, generating long-term growth and sustainability for the people and the nation, added Fauzi.

Meanwhile, Dato’ Mohd Nur Ismal Bin Mohamed Kamal, CEO of MyHSR Corp, encouraged firms and consortia with the relevant experience to participate in this exercise and looked forward to receiving strong interest and high-quality proposals that would serve as an important reference for the Government’s decision on the best way forward for the project.

The RFI exercise marks the Government’s initiative to reactivate the KL-SG HSR project via new funding mechanisms and implementation models in efforts to further improve the rail transport infrastructure and to invigorate the national economy.

“MyHSR Corp remains committed to supporting the Government to identify the most effective solution to revive the KL-SG HSR project. ”

“Globally, developments of HSR have proven to be growth engines, bringing about catalytic development and growth as well as multiplier effects that benefit all walks of life,” said Mohd Nur Ismal.

Malaysia Paid More Than S$102 Million To Singapore After HSR Project Scrapped

The approximately 350-kilometer-long KL-SG HSR project initially signed between Malaysia and Singapore in December 2016 with a targeted completion date by the end of 2026, holds the potential to drastically reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to just 90 minutes.

When Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition formed the government after GE14 in 2018, then-PM Mahathir Mohamad said the HSR project could cost Malaysia RM110 billion (S$36.2 billion), expressing the intention to drop the project.

In September 2018, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to suspend the HSR project until end-May 2020, with Malaysia having to pay Singapore S$15 million for costs incurred for the suspension.

PH government later agreed to continue with the project after some adjustments to reduce the cost.

After toppling the PH government in Sheraton Move and rising to power, the PN government led by Muhyiddin Yassin further suspended the HSR project for seven more months from May to December 2020.

The HSR project was eventually discontinued after multiple postponements at Malaysia’s request and an eventual lapsing of an agreement on 1 January 2021.

As a result of the termination of the project, Malaysia paid more than S$102 million in compensation to Singapore.

Malaysian leaders are still keen on reviving the project

Nevertheless, Malaysian leaders remain enthusiastic about reviving the HSR project.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob expressed his desire to expedite the revival of the terminated project in August of the previous year. He even proposed extending the plan to include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok.

In May 2023, the Transport Ministers of both Singapore and Malaysia held a bilateral meeting where the HSR project was among the topics discussed.

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke reiterated Malaysia’s keenness to revive the HSR project, emphasizing the need for private funding initiatives to support its resurrection.

Muhyiddin once claim HSR cancellation to protect the country’s interest from “foreign interference”

On 19 December 2021, Muhyiddin claimed that the previous contract signed under the BN’s government with Singapore had “biased terms”, which could threaten Malaysia’s sovereignty.

One of which was Singapore’s alleged control over AssetsCo, which he claimed would have been in charge of HSR operations in Malaysia.

He believed that with the termination of the HSR agreement with Singapore, he had managed to restore Malaysia’s sovereignty.

Muhyiddin added that Malaysia can have complete control over the execution of strategic infrastructure projects without Singapore’s involvement, “we can make decisions to protect the interests of our country without foreign interference.”

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