Shorter customs inspection for passengers, thanks to shared CIQ facilities

These train lines include the Thailand-China Railway in Thailand and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting Malaysia and Singapore.

PETALING JAYA: Passengers taking the planned non-stop High-Speed Rail (HSR) service from Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to Jurong East, Singapore, can expect the experience to be much like a 90-minute flight.

They will have their luggage X-rayed and undergo body scans just like at airports. But they will only need to clear the Customs, Immigration and quarantine (CIQ) checks of both countries once as the CIQ facilities will be co-located in both Bandar Malaysia and Jurong East.

“This is just like taking the Eurostar (connecting London and Paris), where passengers undergo all the checks before boarding.

“When they arrive at their destination, they just walk off the train,” said Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal, chief executive officer of MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd, the company responsible for the development and promotion of the bilateral project expected to see commercial services from 2026.

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of the inking of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) by Malaysia and Singapore, he said the non-stop service would also be called the Express service, and its operator would also operate the Shuttle service from Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya) to Jurong East.

Like the Express, the Shuttle service also has co-located CIQ facilities in both countries.

“The fare for the Express service will be left entirely to market for­ces,” said Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, CEO of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), who added that it will be deregulated like airline fares.

“You will see dynamic pricing, which varies according to the day of the week, as well as the time of the day,” said Mohd Nur.

He explained that it was not possible to pin down the fares now as it would be up to the operator to determine the level of fares that best optimised ridership and profitability.

The third type of HSR service will be the Domestic service that stops at Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri.

Passengers who get off at Iskandar Puteri can still get to Singapore by boarding the Shuttle service, though the entire journey (if starting from Kuala Lumpur) can be “slightly more than two hours”. The Domestic plus Shuttle service to Singapore may be 50 minutes longer than the Express.

However, MyHSR and SPAD are keeping mum on the exact travel times for the domestic services, saying they need to allow the operator, OpCo Domestic, flexibility.

Related stories:

Rail line connecting Singapore and Malaysia set to be completed in 2026

M’sia, S’pore committed to ensure a fair tender process

Lawmakers: HSR will be game changer for Malaysia

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