KUALA LUMPUR - The land acquisition process for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) has begun, said Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday (Oct 17), adding that a three-month public consultation for Malaysians to give feedback or raise concerns will be launched next month (November).
Datuk Seri Najib said MyHSR, the Malaysian delivery partner for the bilateral project, has submitted applications for land freezing, so that the viability of the pre-selected corridor can be studied.
"These selected areas are further refined to reflect public feedback on the alignment," he said, when launching concept designs for Malaysia's seven HSR stops.
MyHSR's commercial director Tonny Yeap said actual land acquisition could start by the middle of next year.
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore signed an agreement last December to build and complete the HSR by 2026. The line will have eight stations. Singapore's station will be in Jurong East, while there will be seven stops in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri. Most of the line - 335km of it - will be in Malaysia, with the remaining 15km in Singapore.
Responding to reports that developers of Forest City in Johor have lobbied the government to place a station in the mega property project just west of the Second Link crossing between Singapore and Malaysia, MyHSR chief executive, Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal, said the Land Public Transport Commission is looking at the proposal. "They will come up with a decision with the government. As of now, we have seven stations in Malaysia and one in Singapore. I can't speak for the future but our current plan is to focus on these stations," he said.
When asked about potential bidders for the project, Mr Nur Ismal said two industry briefings have been held in Singapore and London. "We are made to understand that activities leading up to the tender are very exciting. And various parties are teaming up to bid."
He said there will likely be multiple bids when the call for tender is launched at the end of the year. Bids will be submitted by the middle of next year.
The public consultation will start on Nov 1, with information on the 350km rail at key locations along the HSR corridor to be made available.
The station designs are inspired by local elements such as Islamic architecture, Malacca's history as an important trading hub and the Kuda Kepang tradition of Johor, where the lion's share of the track will pass through.
It is expected that the express service between the two capitals will take just 90 minutes, with a transit service stopping at each station. It now takes four hours to travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by car.