HSR project revival among topics discussed at meeting of Malaysia, Singapore Transport Ministers

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (left) and his Singapore counterpart S. Iswaran visiting the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) project here in Johor Baru on May 11.

JOHOR BARU: Reviving the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project was among the topics discussed during a bilateral meeting between Malaysia and Singapore Transport Ministers here.

Anthony Loke said that the HSR project was discussed with his Singapore counterpart S. Iswaran during the bilateral meeting held here on Thursday (May 11).

“The Malaysian government has made our stand clear where we are keen to revive the HSR project but it must be based on a private funding initiative.

“We will continue to engage with each other (Singapore government) on the way forward for this particular project,” he added.

Loke said this during a joint press conference with Iswaran after both ministers visited the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) project here.

Meanwhile, Iswaran described the meeting as a good discussion with Loke where he took the opportunity to underscore Singapore’s readiness for HSR.

“We are ready to study any proposal to restart the HSR project. We are ready to work with the Malaysian government,” he said.

On March 28, Loke said several overtures have been received by the government from the private sector over its intent to build the HSR using private financing.

“Yes, several companies did reach out, but everything is still in its infancy. There is no solid, concrete proposal that the government can consider at the moment,” he said after being hosted by two radio stations belonging to Star Media Group – 988 and Suria FM.

“Things are still at a very preliminary stage,” he said as he confirmed that a request for information (RFI) process for the HSR project is ongoing, with the process being conducted by MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd, a special purpose vehicle under the Finance Ministry.

In its original proposal, the KL-Singapore HSR would enable non-stop travel from Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to Singapore’s Jurong East in not more than 90 minutes.

The HSR project was initially agreed in December 2016 bilaterally, where the project was to be completed by 2026 to reduce travel time between the island nation and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.

However, the project was put on hold in September 2018 with both sides agreeing to shelve the bilateral project worth RM110bil until Dec 31, 2020.

On Jan 1, 2021, Malaysia and Singapore jointly announced the termination of the HSR project, as there was no agreement reached on the changes proposed by Malaysia and that the agreement had expired on Dec 31, 2020.

In March 2021, Malaysia announced it had paid SG$102.8mil to Singapore for the costs incurred by the republic for the development of HSR and the delays involved.

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