Let’s talk about the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) again.
The 350km line was supposed to cut travelling time between KL and Singapore to 90 minutes, instead of 4 hours by car. Since it was first announced in 2010, the project was put on hold twice, during which Malaysia has proposed some changes to the project for the two countries to discuss.
The most recent news we brought was that the SG-KL train might become a JB-KL rail instead, leaving Singapore out of the project completely.
Well, now we are saying it may happen, and it also may not happen, and nothing is certain since the two countries are still negotiating.
After Free Malaysia Today (FMT) released news on the potential shift of the project from SG-KL to JB-KL, Mr Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), released a statement on 27 November explaining that the countries are still in negotiation.
He said, “Referring to some reports published recently regarding the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project, Malaysia and Singapore are still in the process of negotiating on some proposals submitted by Malaysia to improve this project.”
As mentioned before, Singapore and Malaysia will come to a conclusion by 31 December and the government will announce the decision reached.
Which means we’ll only know if we can have KL BKT within 90 minutes by the end of this year.
Singapore is pushing for the commencement of the HSR project.
“Singapore continues to believe that the HSR Project is beneficial for both countries, and remains fully committed to fulfilling our obligations under the HSR Bilateral Agreement. We will make our best efforts to conclude discussions with Malaysia by Dec 31,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Trade says.
If Malaysia decides not to proceed with the HSR project, they will bear the costs that come with leaving Singapore out of the deal at such a late stage. This could amount to about S$250 million (RM760 million).
Effects of the Delays
As announced by Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) the HSR Bilateral Agreement in December 2016 is a legally binding international agreement, and it continues to be in effect now.
The construction of the HSR was postponed in September 2018, with the agreement of both countries. The project was to be postponed till end May 2020.
A further seven-month extension was requested by Malaysia to discuss their proposed changes to the project. Singapore agreed, and this brought the suspension period to 31 December.
Well, at least JB-SG Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link is actually happening so we will have that even if the SG-KL line never happens.
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