‘Clean slate for HSR talks’

Good job: Hasni looking at some of the artworks done by students from Johor Cerebral Palsy Association here in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore have to restart from scratch their discussions on the cancelled Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, which both sides previously agreed to terminate earlier this year, says Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

He said the state government would support the initiative by leaders of both countries to restart discussions on the project.

“We will support any measures and efforts to discuss the development of the HSR, no matter whether it would stop here or in Singapore.

“Johor will take full advantage of opportunities available when the HSR is developed as most of the line will be in the state, which will benefit the people and our economy,” he said after witnessing the handing of donations to the Johor Cerebral Palsy Association here yesterday.

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 so that our country can move forward,” he added.

Hasni said he believed the comments by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the project showed that the island republic would be involved in the HSR.

“But with the cancellation of the HSR project, the discussion needs to start from scratch, not as a review of the old agreement or any amendments to it as it should be a completely new agreement,” he added.

On Monday, Lee said the republic was open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the cancelled HSR project, although both sides previously agreed to terminate it.

“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 official 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 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 (RM317.15mil) 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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