Official meeting with Singapore on HSR to be held this month: Malaysia's Economic Affairs minister

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali told reporters outside Malaysia's Parliament yesterday that he was in Singapore to visit Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin but also took the opportunity to meet some senior officials.
Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali told reporters outside Malaysia's Parliament yesterday that he was in Singapore to visit Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin but also took the opportunity to meet some senior officials.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said yesterday he had a "positive meeting" with Singapore officials when he visited the Republic over the weekend.

He noted, however, that an official meeting to discuss the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) link will take place only some time this month.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin said he was in Singapore to visit Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is recuperating in a private hospital 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 Malaysia's Parliament yesterday.

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 would commence discussions with Singapore soon.

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

The spokesman added that Singapore had, since June 1, asked Malaysia for a written response clarifying its position on the project.

 
 
 

It had also requested that if Malaysia wished to meet to discuss the project, it should take place by the end of last month.

As of yesterday, "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$318 billion) in national debt. It estimates the 350km-long line will cost it RM110 billion. Meanwhile, Singapore has spent about $250 million on the project and is likely to pour in another $40 million by the year end.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2018, with the headline 'Official meeting with S'pore on HSR to be held this month: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe