News Analysis

How Covid-19 killed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project

The 350km link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would have slashed travel times between the countries.
The 350km link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would have slashed travel times between the countries.PHOTO: EDELMAN

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's decision on Friday (Jan 1) to cancel the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project with Singapore was a painful one, say analysts, but a necessary move to shore up its domestic economy against the more immediate onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 350km link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore costing an estimated RM60 to RM80 billion (S$19.8 billion to S$26.3 billion) would have slashed travel times between the countries, ramped up trade and boosted tourism when completed in 2031. Towns situated at key stops along the line in Malaysia had been expecting to welcome millions of ringgit in development and investment.

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