Forum: Objective and purpose of a new HSR project should be clearly defined by both sides

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a press conference recently with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob after they launched the land vaccinated travel lane.

PM Lee said that construction of the cross-border Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link between Woodlands and Johor Baru is ongoing, and both countries are looking forward to its completion by end-2026 (PM Lee, Ismail discuss S'pore-Johor RTS Link, reviving HSR project, Nov 30).

PM Lee also said that Datuk Seri Ismail suggested reviving discussions on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR). PM Lee pointed out that the HSR project had been amicably settled and closed, but said Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the project.

At this juncture, I hope the objective and purpose of a new HSR will be clearly defined by both countries so that there will be no confusion in future on its vision and mission.

If the HSR does come to pass, would there be a need for the RTS Link if the HSR has a stopover in Johor Baru?

The whole HSR project might take about six to eight years to complete, but it could be opened in stages.

For example, stage one could be operating in two or three years' time between Singapore and Johor Baru.

If the HSR operates from Singapore to Johor Baru, the Iskandar Development could take off.

There would be strong demand for housing there as many expatriates from Singapore could commute daily from office to home in Johor as the houses there would be cheaper. Iskandar Development could be a playground for Singaporeans to shop and wine and dine after a hard day's work.

I can see great potential for Singapore and Malaysia to work together for mutual benefit.

Harry Ong Heng Poh

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