Singapore and Malaysia in talks about HSR

Singapore and Malaysia in talks about HSR

Singapore and Malaysia are still in discussions over the twice-delayed high-speed rail (HSR) project, which has until Dec 31 before officials have to make a final decision on its status, a Singapore Ministry of Transport spokesman has said.

The ministry was responding to a Malaysian news report on Sunday, quoting an unnamed source, that said Malaysia is planning to continue the project without Singapore’s involvement and end the line – which starts in Kuala Lumpur – in Johor, not Jurong East.

Asked for its comment, a Singapore Ministry of Transport spokesman on Sunday said both countries are still in talks.

“Singapore and Malaysia are in discussions on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

“As communicated in the Dec 2 joint statement by both prime ministers, we will announce further details on the HSR project in due course,” the spokesman said.

The report in The Malaysian Insight news site quoted the source as saying the Malaysian government will pay Singapore just under $105 million as compensation if it opts to proceed with the project on its own.

“Malaysia will need to compensate Singapore with a payment of $104.67 million. It must be paid by Dec 31,” the source said.

How much will be the sum that Malaysia will have to pay Singapore if the cancer the HSR?

The sum is less than half of the $250 million cited last month by the Free Malaysia Today news site that Singapore would seek as the price to drop the deal.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport declined to comment when contacted.

The TMI report said the Malaysian Cabinet decided last Friday that Malaysia will not continue working with Singapore on the project.

If Malaysia were to complete the HSR on its own, the project would cost around RM65 billion (S$21.4 billion), excluding the trains, the source told TMI.

The original 350km rail project was to run from a terminal station in Bandar Malaysia in downtown Kuala Lumpur, cross the Strait of Johor near the Second Link, and stop at a terminal in Jurong East.

The HSR was slated to have several other stations in between – in Seremban (Negri Sembilan), Ayer Keroh (Melaka), and three Johor stops in Pagoh, Ayer Itam and Iskandar Puteri.

TMI reported that Malaysia had asked to build an HSR station at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which Singapore had rejected, with the source claiming that the Republic perceived this as a threat to its aviation industry.

Source: The Strait Times

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