PETALING JAYA: The bilateral agreement between Malaysia and Singapore on the High-Speed Rail (HSR) will be signed as scheduled by the end of the year, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
It is likely to be signed around Dec 21 from its original date of Dec 5, he said, adding that the delay was due to scheduling and other administrative matters.
“Both sides are now taking the necessary follow-up action to comply with their respective internal procedures and legal requirements for the signing of this agreement,” he said.
On Nov 29, Abdul Rahman met Singapore Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, to discuss the remaining details.
Malaysia and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding for the project in July.
Mooted in 2013, the 350km rail project, of which 15km will be in Singapore, is expected to begin construction in 2018 and will start operating in 2026.
On Wednesday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore and Malaysia had made very good progress in the bilateral agreement on the HSR project.
He hoped both sides could sign the agreement when he and his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, meet at a Leaders’ Retreat later this month.
Lee said the first thing was to have a sound agreement between the two countries on how the project was structured, how it was going to be executed, and how it was being backed by both governments.
“That is the first requirement, that we have a very good agreement which sets out clearly a sound basis to build and operate the system,” he said.
Both countries had been discussing the agreement for more than a year, Lee noted.
“We are almost there and I hope that when I meet the Prime Minister at the next retreat, we will be able to sign the agreement,” he said in an interview with Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang on Monday.