Singapore And Malaysia Have Agreed To Postpone High Speed Rail Project

Singapore and Malaysia both agreed to postpone the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR)

While many may be disappointed, Singapore and Malaysia’s agreement to postpone the development of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) offers greater clarity on the way forward for the mega project, said Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a Facebook post.

The two countries had agreed to postpone the construction of the much-anticipated project until end-May 2020, with the rail service between Singapore and KL to start by 1 January 2031, instead of the 31 December 2026 initially planned, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and Mr Khaw signed the new agreement at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.

Malaysia will pay $15 million to Singapore for costs incurred in deferring the project.

“Min Khaw Boon Wan and Min Azmin Ali worked hard to reach an outcome which meets the interests of both countries. This bodes well for future cooperation between our countries,” said Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who witnessed the signing, in a Facebook post.

Aimed at reducing travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes from the current five hours, the proposed 350km-long HSR line is one of the projects by the previous Malaysian government to be reviewed following the historic win of Pakatan Harapan in May.

Shortly after winning the election, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced plans to cancel the HSR project as it would not be beneficial to Malaysia and would cost “a huge sum of money”.

In July, however, he said that his government would negotiate for a postponement of the HSR project to reduce any burden of compensation.

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