CYBERJAYA: Malaysia does not feel that a high-speed rail (HSR) system is necessary for now, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said the country's main focus right now would be to improve its existing rail system through electrification and double-tracking.
“At the moment, a high-speed rail is not too necessary, especially if it is just between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
“So we won't build the HSR just yet.
“But we will want to improve the quality and the services of our existing railway system.
“That can be done, and has been done to some extent by double-tracking and electrification.
“Electrification also does not pollute the environment and, at the same time, allows us to travel at high speed.
“With double-tracking on our railways, this will allow trains to pass each other without having to stop,” said Dr Mahathir, during a question and answer session at a dialogue with the Malaysia Rail Industry Corporation here Tuesday (April 16).
Dr Mahathir also spoke about the possibility of a high-speed rail from Johor Baru all the way to Penang, and possibly, the border of Thailand.
However, he said this was not discussed with Singapore, adding that the arrangement between the two countries was just for the service to be between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Last September, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to a two-year suspension on the HSR project, which ends in May 2020.
The government has reimbursed S$15mil (RM45.6mil) to Singapore for suspending the project.