Joint Malaysia-Singapore Olympics 2032 bid derailed over HSR suspension

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans for a joint bid by Malaysia and Singapore to host the Olympics in 2032 are derailed, following the suspension of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project, says Olympic Council of Malaysia honorary life president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.  

“I mooted that Kuala Lumpur and Singapore make a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics.  

“I said this because it made sense at the time, as this was all based on the High Speed Rail,” he said in his speech at the launching of the International Sports Law Conference held at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) on Friday (Sept 28).

He brought up the idea with the Singapore National Olympic Council, noting that the HSR would cut down travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by 90 minutes by rail from the current four-and-a-half-hour overland journey.

“For example, Singapore could host the opening ceremony, while the closing ceremony could be held in Kuala Lumpur.

“As joint host, the cities could split the events by hosting 14 of them in Singapore and 14 in Kuala Lumpur,” Tunku Imran added.

He said that if the proposed joint bid was successful, it would have meant that the International Olympic Council would have provided funds of about RM8bil to Malaysia and Singapore to host the event.

In December 2016, the previous administration signed a bilateral agreement with Singapore to build a 350km high speed railway, linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with an estimated cost of RM110bil.

However, the project was temporary suspended by the Pakatan Harapan government after taking over Putrajaya following the May 9 general election.

Under the new agreement with Singapore, Malaysia is to start work on the project by May 31, 2020, with the HSR service expected to start by Jan 1, 2031 instead of Dec 31, 2026.

Malaysia was spared a RM500mil penalty for the two-year suspension, but was required to reimburse RM45.1mil to Singapore instead.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had assured that Malaysia was committed towards continuing the project after its two-year suspension ends.

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