Malaysia-Singapore HSR discussions should restart from scratch, says Johor MB

JOHOR BARU: Any new discussions on the cancelled Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project should start from scratch, says Datuk Hasni Mohammad (pic).

The Johor Mentri Besar said that the state government would support initiatives shown by leaders of both countries to restart discussions on the project, which both sides agreed to terminate earlier this year.

"We will support any measures and efforts to discuss the development of HSR, no matter if it stops here or in Singapore.

"Johor will take full advantage of opportunities available when the HSR is developed as most of the line would be in the state, which would benefit the people and its economy," he said after witnessing Johor Cerebral Palsy receiving donations here on Tuesday (Nov 30).

He expressed hope that there would be political stability in the country to realise the HSR project.

"I hope that the political situation in this country remains stable and no one will 'push the (stop) button' so our country can move forward," he said.

Hasni added that the reaction from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the project also hinted that the island republic welcomes involvement in the HSR project.

"But with the previous HSR project cancelled, the discussion needs to start from scratch, not review the old agreement or make any amendments to it as it should be a completely new agreement," he said.

On Monday (Nov 29), Lee said Singapore was open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the cancelled HSR project.

He said both countries' transport ministries would discuss the matter and Singapore looked forward to receiving more details from Malaysia.

"Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob) suggested reviving discussions on the HSR. I responded to the PM that Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR project, and this had been amicably settled and closed.

"Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the project, and the two ministries of transport will discuss the matter.

"Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia so that we can study them and consider the matter again starting from a clean slate," he said during a joint press conference with Ismail Sabri in Singapore, which was also streamed live on his Facebook page.

The joint press conference was held in conjunction with the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme between both countries.

On Jan 1, 2021, Malaysia and Singapore jointly announced the termination of the HSR project as both countries had failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia before the project agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.

In March this year, Malaysia announced that it had paid S$102.8mil (RM317mil) to Singapore for costs incurred for the development of the HSR project and in relation to the extension of its suspension.

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