Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dr M: HSR cannot be justified

He voices concern about the cost of the project, saying it could wait another 10 to 20 years.

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Dr Mahathir Mohamad today appeared to agree with the Perikatan Nasional government’s decision to cancel a joint agreement on the construction of a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir, whose administration had requested to suspend the agreement pending a review of mega projects started by the previous Barisan Nasional government, said the rail link was not economically viable.

“I do not consider this a critical project. We could wait another 10 to 20 years,” he told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya today.

He said the distance of 350km between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would mean little savings compared to the current journey, and that the spiralling cost of the project was also a concern.

“The cost of building this HSR has gone up to RM80 billion. We will never get back our money,” Mahathir added.

The HSR project, which was launched in 2016 under then-prime minister Najib Razak, was terminated after Malaysia allowed the bilateral agreement to lapse on Dec 31, 2020.

Malaysia will pay an undisclosed amount of compensation to Singapore.

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