KUALA LUMPUR - The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the high-speed rail connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is ready for public viewing and feedback, marking another step forward for the multi-billion dollar project.
The report itself is broadly positive about the project, noting short-term environmental impact.
The line will pass from its terminus station in Kuala Lumpur through the Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya federal territories and four Malaysian states, before entering Singapore.
The HSR will have only one station in the Republic, in Jurong East.
The EIA report was prepared by private company Minconsult Sdn Bhd and it has been submitted to Malaysia's Department of Environment (DOE) for review, according to the government's development company MyHSR Corp.
The project would notch a big step forward once the impact study is okayed by the Malaysian government.
The governments of Malaysia and Singapore signed a bilateral agreement late last year to embark on the project. According to the agreement, the HSR link is expected to become operational by Dec 31, 2026, and will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 1½ hours, down from about fours hours by car.
The EIA study, for the Malaysian side of the project, covers assessments such as noise and vibration, geology, traffic, public health and safety.
"We have outlined the necessary measures to address and minimise the potential impacts throughout all phases of the project, which covers pre-construction, during construction and operations," MyHSR Corp chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 26).
"We welcome the public to provide feedback on the findings of the EIA report. The report will then be updated to incorporate feedback gathered from the public viewing and will be presented and considered for approval by the DOE," he added.
The report noted that there would be permanent loss of some forest areas and associated environmental services from forest reserves due to the project. This includes a small part of the Sungai Pulai mangrove forest in Gelang Patah in southern Johor.
Palm oil plantations with total size of 1,141ha and 902ha of rubber estates would also be affected as the rail line is built, the report said.
The report also said that there would be minimal water quality impact due to mitigation measures such as site-specific erosion and sediment control measures, along with planned construction of bridges at river crossings.
The public can view the EIA report until Jan 25, 2018, at Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) headquarters in KL and DOE offices in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor. It is also available at town council offices along the KL-to-Singapore rail alignment.