Thursday, March 4, 2021

KLIA plan, assets company behind HSR’s termination, says Singapore

Singapore has so far spent about RM821 million in relation to the HSR.

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The removal of an assets company for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, as well as Malaysia’s proposal to have the line connect to KLIA, are among the reasons the agreement had to be terminated, the Singapore parliament was told today.

The republic’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore did not agree to the proposal to have the HSR connect to KLIA, saying it would mean the line sharing the Express Rail Link (ERL), which shuttles from cities to the airport in Sepang.

Ong said the ERL was slower than HSR and as such “there would have been many technical issues to resolve”.

“But having said that, the main concern for us was the removal of the assets company,” he was quoted as saying by Singapore’s The Straits Times.

Ong said Singapore has so far spent about S$270 million (RM821 million) in relation to the HSR.

The HSR project was terminated after Malaysia allowed the bilateral agreement to lapse on the deadline of Dec 31, 2020.

Malaysia will pay an undisclosed amount of compensation to Singapore.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong said both governments had held several discussions but were unable to reach an agreement.

“Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions resulting from the termination of the HSR agreement,” they said.

MalaysiaNow previously reported a source as saying that Malaysia has its own plan for the HSR, one that would benefit the country more in the long run “even if we have to pay compensation”.

The project, which was to take off in 2026, was first postponed four months after the fall of the Barisan Nasional government in 2018, as the incoming Pakatan Harapan government undertook a review of several large-scale projects over financial concerns.

The move drew strong criticism from Najib Razak, who had promoted the HSR as beneficial to Malaysia.

But critics of the project, who included former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, pointed out that the HSR would benefit Singapore more.

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