Malaysia and Thailand to look into KL-Bangkok high-speed rail link

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak(left) and Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha at a press conference at Government House in Bangkok.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak(left) and Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha at a press conference at Government House in Bangkok. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to study the possibility of a high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Thai counterpart General Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed for the relevant agencies to begin preliminary discussions on the possible link.

Najib said both leaders agreed on the need to set in motion the initial study which would complement the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR.

"We believe that we should increase connectivity for the benefit of people-to-people relations," Mr Najib said after the sixth annual Malaysia and Thai leaders consultation on Friday (Sept 9).

The target deadline for the 350km track between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is 2026.

"We have a lot of things going for us. It is a productive meeting and we need to keep the momentum going," Mr Najib said in his remarks at the joint press conference after holding the consultation at Government House in Bangkok.

Seven ministers accompanied Mr Najib, including Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

 
 

However, Mr Najib cautioned that in order to increase connectivity between Thailand and Malaysia, peace and stability especially in southern Thailand must be achieved.

"Once you have stability, you will get economic progress and prosperity for the people of Thailand and Malaysia," he added.

Mr Prayut in his remarks thanked Najib for Malaysia's role in facilitating the ongoing peace dialogue between relevant parties.

"Thailand will continue the peace dialogue, which is still in its initial stage, to build confidence.

"We have security challenges including terrorism, extremism and transnational crime. We should cooperate with each other in intelligence sharing," he said.

Mr Najib also said Thailand and Malaysia have agreed to cooperate to identify specific perpetrators sought by both countries.

"Some perpetrators move between the two countries, so security agencies need to cooperate closely and bring them to justice," he said.

The leaders also agreed for the relevant agencies to explore ways and means to achieve bilateral trade of US$30 billion (S$40.8 billion) by 2018.

Najib said that both leaders agreed to speed infrastructure development projects to promote connectivity in border areas, including the bridge construction between Golok and Rantau Panjang, and between Tak Bai and Pengkalan Kubor.