Malaysia didn't tell Singapore high-speed rail link project won't complete by 2020: Ministry

Land Public Transport Commission Chairman Syed Hamid Albar. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
Land Public Transport Commission Chairman Syed Hamid Albar. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE'S Ministry of Transport said on Wednesday it has not been informed by Malaysian authorities that the upcoming high-speed rail link project between the two countries will bust the 2020 deadline.

Mr Syed Hamid Albar, chairman of Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission, said in an interview on Tuesday that the deadline will be missed even after using government land as much as possible to avoid property-acquisition disputes.

The project may take six to seven years to complete once construction starts by 2016, Mr Syed Hamid told Bloomberg.

This would effectively mean that the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail link may not be able to meet the 2020 deadline.

"As far as we know, we are still working towards project completion by 2020 as agreed by the two Prime Ministers," said a Singapore transport ministry spokesman.

"We have not received any indication from Malaysia that it intends to delay the project beyond 2020. Our feasibility studies are on track to be completed next year and bilateral discussions with Malaysia are ongoing."

The proposed rail line will reduce the 300km journey over land to 90 minutes from about five hours.

According to Bloomberg, while Malaysia initially targeted 2020 for the line to be completed to coincide with its plan to be a developed nation, it recognises there may be "problems" with the original timeline, Mr Syed Hamid said.

There are more elements than just construction that the governments need to study, he said.