Official HSR meeting with Singapore some time in August: Malaysian minister Azmin Ali

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Monday (Aug 6) he had a "positive meeting" with Singapore officials when he visited the city-state over the weekend.

He noted however that an official meeting to discuss the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) link will only take place sometime in August.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin said he went to Singapore to visit Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is recuperating at a private hospital in Singapore after surgery to remove a pancreatic tumour.

"I took that opportunity to meet some senior officials in Singapore to discuss the HSR project, but I will issue a statement to that effect at some point.

"The meeting was very positive," he said outside Parliament on Monday.

Last week, the Singapore government said it had received a letter from Mr Mohamed Azmin dated July 23, stating that the Malaysian government was studying the details of the HSR project and will commence discussions with the republic soon.

When asked about his latest comments, which were reported by The Star, a spokesman for Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said no meeting has been scheduled, or taken place between him and the Singapore officials overseeing the HSR project.

The spokesman added that Singapore had since the start of June 1 asked from Malaysia for a written response clarifying its position on the project. It had also requested that if the Malaysian government wished to meet to discuss the project, it should take place by the end of last month.

As of Monday, “the Malaysian government has not provided the clarifications sought by Singapore and has not communicated their proposed dates for such discussions”, the spokesman said.

Malaysia is considering delaying the HSR project - inked in 2016 and due to be completed in 2026 - as it grapples with RM1 trillion (S$336 billion) in national debt. It estimates the 350km-line will cost it RM110 billion.

 
 

Meanwhile, Singapore has spent about S$250 million on the project, and is likely to pour in another S$40 million by the year end.

Singapore has welcomed Malaysia's suggestion to commence discussions on the rail link that will shorten travelling time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to only 90 minutes.