TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Malaysia has yet to formalise rejection of high-speed rail project

The Singapore government has not yet received any notification from Malaysia.

Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad announced in a press conference that he will cancel the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

However, the Ministry of Transport said it has not yet received any official notification from Malaysia. "We had agreed to proceed with the HSR project based on mutual benefits and obligations set out in the HSR bilateral agreement," a spokesperson told Singapore Business Review.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said in an interview with the Financial Times, "We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, such as the high speed rail project, which is going to cost us RM110b and will not earn us a single cent."

Before Mahathir's announcement, SG HSR and Malaysia's MyHSR Corp have already launched a joint tender for the company that will facilitate the designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining of all rail assets of the HSR.

The project promised that the rail link would cover the 350km distance between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and some eight proposed stations, in "as quick as an hour and a half." It was previously reported that as many as 98 companies from Malaysia, Singapore, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and North America took an interest during the early stages of the project.

Analysts forecasted that Mahathir's recent election victory is not bound to affect Malaysia's ties with Singapore, but key economic policies bridging the two countries needed to be watched. Most were positive that the HSR project will continue.

Oxford Economics lead Asia economist Sian Ferrer previously said, "The link will improve the connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore and Mr Mahathir did stress that any infrastructure projects or other FDI projects need to benefit Malaysians."

In the meantime, Singapore waits for official communication from Malaysia.

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