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Malaysia must be upfront on intentions for HSR project

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has, time and again, said that his administration wants to cancel and drop the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) deal.

But in Japan recently, he seemed to be singing a different tune by declaring that the project is only postponed (HSR postponed, not scrapped, says Mahathir; June 13).

How Tun Dr Mahathir deals with this project can have direct bearing on foreign investments which he plans to bring in. It is important for him to be candid. If the Malaysian side desires to temporarily shelve the HSR project as part of its austerity drive, or for other reasons, the least it could do is be upfront about its intentions.

If there is disagreement or doubt, it is important to try to accommodate input and views from each side, to overcome and resolve any hiccup amicably.

The credibility of a leader rests on his consistency in decision-making, and this includes his public announcements on important matters.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 17, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysia must be upfront on intentions for HSR project'. Print Edition | Subscribe