PETALING JAYA: The benefits from the High Speed Rail (HSR) project outweigh its cost, said former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
In a Facebook post yesterday, Najib said studies show that the HSR project, which would link Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, would bring socio-economic benefit to both countries.
“The projections from the relevant report I have seen indicate an estimated economic benefit of RM650bil in Gross National Income until year 2069.
“There would have been 110,000 jobs 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.
The project would also revitalise towns such as Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh and Seremban where there would be great multiplier effects, he added.
“The times are changing and the economy of today is more sophisticated than in the past, and it is disappointing if the Prime Minister fails to see the project as an economic catalyst outside the scope of ticket sales,” he said.
Najib also pointed out there are mutual benefits to be gained for both countries.
“The project has the potential to shape the future and how (Singapore and Malaysia) can work together for common gain.
“Studies have also shown that Malaysia is the main beneficiary of this project seeing that the majority of the track would be in the country,” he said.
Najib questioned how the Government arrived at the conclusion that the project would cost about RM110bil.
He said the costs of the project as at early this year sood 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.
He questioned if the cancellation of the project is based on one person’s decision.
“Don’t make decisions just to revenge yourself upon an individual or the Barisan Nasional government.
“Decisions clouded by emotions would only bring losses to the rakyat,” he said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed the HSR project to Singapore would be scrapped.
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