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Wednesday April 23, 2008

KL-Singapore bullet train derailed by high cost

PETALING JAYA: The proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore multi-billion ringgit bullet train project has been put on hold due to the high cost.

Economic Planning Unit director-general Datuk Seri Sulaiman Mahbob confirmed that the Government had shelved the project but refused to elaborate further.

“The Government will not go ahead with the project because the financial model submitted involves a significant cost to be borne by the Government,” he said when contacted.

He declined to reveal how much the Government would have to bear.

He also refused to take further questions on the matter of the bullet train.

The RM8bil train, proposed by YTL Corp Bhd in 2006, was capable of travelling at 350kph and cutting the travelling time between the two cities to 90 minutes.

YTL managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh had earlier said that it was an environmentally-friendly project and would save the Government “tens of billions of ringgit” in fuel subsidies in the long term.

Yeoh was reported to have said that the Government was supportive of the project.

A feasibility study was carried out last year but the Government said it also wanted to carry out a social impact study as the project required land acquisition.

The project was first proposed by YTL to then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the late 1990s soon after the completion of the high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and the KL International Airport. YTL owns half of the KL-KLIA link.

Dr Mahathir rejected the project because it was not suitable.

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