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Singapore stays 'committed', says MOT on report of Malaysia's plan to end HSR at JB

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2 min read
(PHOTO: Facebook / Khaw Boon Wan)
(PHOTO: Khaw Boon Wan/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Malaysia has proposed some changes to the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, and Singapore authorities have been discussing them in good faith with Malaysia, a Ministry of Transport (MOT) spokesperson said on Thursday (26 November).

In response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore, the spokesperson said, “Singapore continues to believe that the HSR project is beneficial for both countries, and remains fully committed to fulfilling our obligations under the HSR Bilateral Agreement. We will make our best efforts to conclude discussions with Malaysia by 31 December 2020.”

The spokesperson added that if Malaysia does not proceed with the project by 31 December, it will bear the agreed costs incurred by Singapore under the bilateral agreement.

The ministry’s response comes after Malaysian news website Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that the Malaysian authorities plan to resume the project without Singapore’s participation and end the track in Johor Bahru.

The FMT cited two unnamed sources, who added that Malaysian authorities have informed Singapore of the change in plans.

The construction of the HSR project has been suspended twice at Malaysia’s request. The first extension in September 2018 was to end in May, with the second and final extension ending on 31 December.

The multi-billion-dollar project to provide a 90-minute rail connection between the Jurong Lake District and Kuala Lumpur is slated to start operations in 2031, instead of in 2026 as originally planned.

The MOT spokesperson said, “Singapore and Malaysia signed the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) Bilateral Agreement in December 2016. This is a legally binding international agreement which remains in force today.”

Former Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed in Parliament in July 2018 that Singapore had spent over $250 million on the project by end-May the same year.

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