PETALING JAYA: Reports show that the socio-economic benefits from the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project exceed its costs, said former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 30) Najib said studies show that the HSR project, which would link Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, would bring socioeconomic benefit to both countries.
“The projections from the relevant report I have seen indicate an estimated economic benefit of RM650bil in Gross National Income by year 2069.
“There would have been 110,000 job opportunities created, which is estimated to increase to about 442,000 by year 2069,” he said, urging for the report to be shown to the public.
Such infrastructure projects, he added, bring returns in the form of land appreciation, local economic growth, technology transfer, job opportunities, higher income, brain gain from Singapore, and boost in tourism.
Najib also questioned how the government arrived at the conclusion that the project would cost about RM110bil.
He said the costs of the project as of early this year stand at about RM72bil, taking into account payments made to the citizens for land transfer.
“The true cost can only be known when the tenders for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the rolling stocks and assets of the rail are fully closed on Dec 28 this year,” he said.
He also questioned if the agencies involved in the project have been given a chance to present their case before the cabinet and the Council of Eminent Persons.
Najib said he is disappointed with the rash decision to drop the project, and urged the government to act with integrity by hosting consultations before making any decision.On Monday (May 28), prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed the HSR project to Singapore would be scrapped.