Malaysia says high-speed rail project with Singapore still on track

The timetable for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) system appears to be slipping but getting the trains running by 2020 - a mere five years away - is doable, said Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal. -- PH
The timetable for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) system appears to be slipping but getting the trains running by 2020 - a mere five years away - is doable, said Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

HONG KONG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The timetable for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) system appears to be slipping but getting the trains running by 2020 - a mere five years away - is doable, said Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal.

Addressing a gathering of rail professionals at the Asia Pacific Rail 2015, he said proper planning for this project and gaining public acceptance would be crucial to getting it finished on time.

"There is much work (to be done) to get people to see that this is not an elitist project and to see the broad range of benefits (it will bring) to the country," he told the audience at this annual conference focusing on rail systems, including the mass rapid transit (MRT).

Security concerns, for example, are expected to feature prominently in the talks with Singapore, with both nations seeing things differently.

"There are differences in how Malaysia and Singapore perceive security issues, with the latter being more paranoid but that is not necessarily a bad thing," said Mr Mohd Nur.

He said security needs would be balanced with giving users a seamless travel experience on the non-stop journey between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur that will take no longer than 90 minutes.

It is expected to be the fastest way to travel between the two cities when check-in and waiting times are taken into account.