Malaysia: KL seeks high-speed rail delay pending review

  • Months after the new Malaysian administration signalled that it was rethinking the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) link, its minister in charge of the project held an official meeting with his Singapore counterpart on 11 Aug 18.
  • Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on 14 Aug 18 that his meeting with Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in the Republic was “official… good and productive”.
  • A spokesman for Singapore’s Ministry of Transport confirmed the meeting was held. “The ministers discussed the HSR project and agreed to continue discussions in the coming weeks,” she said.
  • The Straits Times understands that Malaysia’s request to postpone the 350km link was conveyed at the meeting. “Our position is to have the rail project postponed pending review,” said a spokesman for the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration had initially expressed its desire to scrap the HSR project due to cost concerns after claiming that it had inherited more than MYR1tr (SGD336bn) in debt from the previous Barisan Nasional government.
  • However, it later softened its stance, saying it would first have to negotiate with Singapore as there were penalties for cancelling the deal inked in Dec 16.
  • Kuala Lumpur most recently said it would seek a deferment of the project it estimates will cost MYR110bn and was originally slated to be completed in 2026. But it had yet to convey this request formally to Singapore.
  • Mr Khaw said in Jul 18 that Singapore has spent more than SGD250mn on the project and is likely to pour in another SGD40mn by end-2018.

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