KUALA LUMPUR: Discussions with Singapore on reviving the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project will start in the second quarter of 2022 while at the same time, the Transport Ministry is also mulling a feasibility study on a Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok HSR.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the ministry had been tasked to initiate discussions with the Singaporean government on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project and that talks were still in the early stages.
“Currently, the Transport Ministry is preparing to hold preliminary discussions with Singapore in the second quarter of the year.
“In line with the Prime Minister’s visit to Thailand on the 25th of February, 2022, the Transport Ministry is also exploring the possibility of having an HSR feasibility study from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok,” Dr Wee said when winding up his ministerial replies on the motion of thanks in Dewan Rakyat yesterday (March 14).
On Jan 1, 2021, Malaysia and Singapore said in a joint statement that the HSR project had been cancelled after both countries failed to reach an agreement on several changes proposed by Malaysia.
On the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (BLLRT) project, Dr Wee said the final approval for the railway scheme will be given after the applicant, which is the Penang state economic planning unit (BPEN), has fulfilled the requirements of the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).
This includes getting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the BLLRT alignment in the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project approved, which has yet to be done, said Dr Wee.
Dr Wee said the BLLRT alignment starts from Komtar and would pass through areas such as Gelugor, Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas and the Penang International Airport before ending at station C3 located in the proposed PSR project.
“In October 2021, the Transport Ministry held a site visit with Penang BPEN to resolve alignment related issues.
“The final approval of this BLLRT railway scheme project will be given after the applicant meets the requirements provided by APAD on such conditional approvals, including EIA approvals for the BLLRT alignment in the PSR, which has not yet been obtained,” he said.
Dr Wee also said that the expansion of the Penang International Airport has been postponed until the aviation industry recovers, which may only be expected in 2025.
Meanwhile, Anthony Loke (PH-Seremban) raised the issue over the financial capabilities of the company which was awarded the contract to carry out dredging works at all federal ports in the country.
Dr Wee, however, explained that the financial problems suffered by the company are still in the stage of being handled by the banks.
“We have a lot of conditions imposed in terms of their exploration work and the standards that we set. We have the mechanism to monitor this. This matter has already been discussed. This company too has done this work for 15 years,” he said.
He said that, unlike other companies, this company invests assets in Malaysia.
As such, he said this was one of the conditions that were taken into consideration.