High-speed rail success depends on how well countries work together

The Singapore-Malaysia high-speed rail (HSR) has the potential of bringing about many benefits for both countries, including modernising communities, improving economies, strengthening businesses, improving bilateral relationships and enabling us to compete better in the global marketplace.

To ensure that the HSR is stable, secure and sustainable, we need to start identifying, preventing, responding to and overcoming current and future challenges.

The success of the HSR does not depend only on us, but also on our counterparts across the Causeway and other parties from the private sector. We must continue to strengthen our symbiotic and synergistic relationships with these parties.

The HSR's success is also determined by the support and participation of key stakeholders, such as targeted communities, companies and commuters. They need to be educated on how to capitalise on the HSR to improve the quality and standard of their achievements in the future.

The tender process will have a bearing on the design, management, maintenance and improvement of the HSR, which will, in turn, affect its effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, safety and reliability.

Key stakeholders, such as targeted communities, companies and commuters, need to be educated on how to capitalise on the HSR to improve the quality and standard of their achievements in the future.

How can we ensure that the highest standards are adopted at every stage of the HSR project, so that the necessary plans are well crafted and effectively implemented?

Perhaps the authorities can learn from the development of the rapid transit system between Singapore and Johor.

This smaller project will help both countries improve their understanding of the other's working style, and develop stronger systems to communicate, collaborate and co-create solutions.

It can also be used to deepen studies on the challenges that the HSR project may face, so that the necessary solutions can be developed.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'High-speed rail success depends on how well countries work together'. Print Edition | Subscribe