Monday, January 24, 2022

Singapore says open to fresh proposals on high-speed rail

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong says the matter will be discussed by the Singapore and Malaysia transport ministries.

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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today said the republic is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project although both countries had previously agreed to terminate the project.

Lee said the countries’ transport ministries would discuss the matter and that Singapore looked forward to receiving more details from Malaysia.

“Prime Minister (Ismail Sabri Yaakob) suggested reviving discussions on the HSL. I responded to the PM that Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR project, and this had been amicably settled and closed.

“Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project, and the two ministries of transport will discuss the matter. Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia so that we can study them and consider the matter again starting from a clean slate,” he said at a joint press conference with Ismail.

The joint press conference was held in conjunction with the launch of the land Vaccinated Travel Lane in Singapore.

On Jan 1, Malaysia and Singapore jointly announced the termination of the HSR project, as both countries had failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia before the project agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.

In March, Malaysia announced that it had paid S$102.8 million (S$1=RM3.09) to Singapore for costs incurred for the development of the HSR project and in relation to the extension of its suspension.

Meanwhile on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link project, Lee said the construction of the project was ongoing, and that both countries looked forward to the system commencing its passenger services by end-2026.

The RTS Link is a 4km cross-border rail project that links the Singapore terminus at the Woodlands North station to the Malaysian terminus in Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru.

It will support a peak capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

Ismail later told reporters in Singapore that discussions on reviving the HSR project would be carried out by the two transport ministries with the new proposal brought to the Cabinet.

“This is still at a very preliminary stage. We will study in detail. As the previous agreement was terminated, if we were to revisit the project it would require a new agreement,” he said.

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