PUTRAJAYA - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stressed on Tuesday (July 19) that the right business model is needed to ensure an ambitious 10-year timeline to implement the much-anticipated high-speed rail (HSR) link with Singapore is met.
He also said the tender process for the project expected to cost over S$17 billion will be fair, transparent and objective as "the image and integrity of both countries will be at stake".
"The most important thing is to get the business model right. Then we should be able to implement according to our timeline.
"Rest assured the tender process will be conducted in the fairest way," Datuk Seri Najib said at a joint press conference with Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the HSR was inked at his residence this afternoon.
The nearly 400km HSR will mostly span the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia, terminating at Bandar Malaysia, a new township just south of Kuala Lumpur. With only 15km running through Singapore, Malaysia will host six stops before terminating in Bandar Malaysia.
Economic Planning Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who signed the MoU with Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, told reporters that fares would be determined by market forces, and be competitive against those of flights between the respective capital cities.
"It will be an equitable, fair percentages for both countries," he said of the financing responsibility for the project.
Although both Mr Najib and Datuk Abdul Rahman were coy on the subject of cost, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani had earlier told reporters the figure would be upwards of RM50 billion (S$17 billion).