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Malaysia wants HSR project revived, Singapore open to idea

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The High-Speed Rail project between Singapore and Malaysia was terminated on 1 Jan 2021, however, the Malaysian prime minister has suggested reviving discussions for the project.

Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has suggested reviving discussions on a High-Speed Rail (HSR) with Singapore, reported Channel News Asia (CNA) citing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Ismail Sabri is visiting Singapore to mark the start of the vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) between the two countries. He met his Singapore counterpart and was hosted to an official lunch at the Istana.

“The prime minister suggested reviving discussions on the HSR,” said Lee after meeting with the Malaysian Prime Minister on Monday (29 November).

“I responded to the prime minister that Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR projects, and this has been amicably settled and closed. Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project,” he added as quoted by CNA.

He shared that the transport ministries from the two countries will discuss the matter and that the city-state looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia “so that we can study them and consider the matter again, starting from a clean slate”.

Notably, Malaysia had paid Singapore over $102 million in compensation for the terminated project.

The two prime ministers also discussed other areas of collaboration, like the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link which is set to commence passenger service by end-2026.

Lee also revealed that Singapore continues to support Iskandar Malaysia’s development.

Related article: Will The High Speed Railway Project Termination Affect Property Prices in Jurong?

“The 14th Joint Committee for Iskandar Malaysia will convene next month, and I hope that they will be able to give the project another further push,” he said.

The 14th Joint Ministerial Committee meeting for Iskandar Malaysia was initially scheduled in January 2019, but was postponed after the two countries were caught in a maritime border dispute.

Ismail Sabri said he and Lee have agreed to resume existing bilateral mechanisms, such as the 10th Leaders’ Retreat which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“God willing, we will have our leaders’ retreat in the first quarter of the next year and I look forward to coming back to Singapore,” said the Malaysian prime minister.

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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: [email protected]

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