PETALING JAYA • Malaysians are being given a preview of what to expect from the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR), courtesy of an exhibition organised by China Railway at KL Sentral.
The exhibition consists of a cockpit simulator and passenger seats, together with a virtual-reality device for visitors, Bernama news agency reported yesterday.
Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission chairman Syed Hamid Albar, who launched the China High Speed Railway Experience Cube, described it as a good opportunity for the public to prepare for the HSR era, with the KL-Singapore link slated to be completed by 2026.
"Malaysia is standing on an exciting future and the public is very excited because we are now using trains to connect towns and cities," he said at the launch yesterday.
Tan Sri Syed Hamid later told Bernama that the tender for the KL-Singapore HSR project was still in the bidding process and any decision must be made together with Singapore, which is Malaysia's joint partner in the project.
Bernama described China Railway as one of the bidders for the project. Japanese and South Korean companies are also expected to express interest.
The free exhibition is open to the public from 10am to 8pm daily and is being held on the second floor of the KL Sentral station.
In a press conference after the launch ceremony, China Railway International Group chairman Yang Zhongmin said he was confident the firm would be able to deliver on the project, based on China's experience in railway construction.
"We are also confident because of our friendly relationship with Malaysia and will strictly follow the projected plan," he added.
The Chinese envoy in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Huang Huikang, was also at the launch ceremony.
He said he expected construction of the HSR to be completed in five years, the Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily reported.
"To me, a construction timeframe of 10 years is too long. Five years would be enough," Dr Huang was quoted as saying.
The HSR agreement, signed by the Malaysian and Singapore governments in Putrajaya last month, would cut travel time between Singapore and KL to 90 minutes, compared with a commute of four hours by car.
The ball starts rolling early this year, when both countries jointly award a tender for a development partner to give operational, technical and procurement advice.
Another tender will be called in the fourth quarter of next year for a company to design, build, finance and maintain rail assets and trains.
About 335km of the HSR line will be in Malaysia, with the remaining 15km in Singapore.
The line will be linked across the Johor Strait by a 25m-high bridge near the Second Link.