By Chew Lip Song
The ambitious Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project has been terminated after both countries could not come to an agreement on the proposed changes.
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singapore counterpart said Putrajaya had proposed several changes to the project in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its economy.
“Both governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR Agreement had lapsed on Dec 31,2020.
“Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions, resulting from this termination of the HSR Agreement.
“Both countries remain committed to maintain good bilateral relations and cooperate closely in various fields, including strengthening the connectivity between the two countries,” the statement read.
Malaysia and Singapore signed an agreement to carry out the HSR project in December 2016.
After Pakatan Harapan seized power in 2018, the project was put on hold until May 31 2020.
After which, both governments agreed to extend the deferment of the HSR to Dec 31.
The Malaysian government is expected to pay compensation of about RM300 million to Singapore for the cancellation, based on media reports.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2026, cutting down travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes.
The HSR line would have been 350km long, 335km within in Malaysia and 15km in Singapore.