KL-Singapore high-speed rail: How profitable can it be?

Population density in Kuala Lumpur may not be high enough to make the KL-S'pore high-speed rail profitable. Instead profitability will depend on the extent of regional economic integration and how urban clusters unfold within Asean.

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (KL-SG HSR) project is under review following the election of a new government in Putrajaya led by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Whatever the outcome, there is one issue that needs to be looked at more closely: profitability.

The project's profitability will depend on the extent of regional economic integration - the free movement of people, labour, goods and capital across national borders - as well as how urban agglomeration unfolds within Asean.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'KL-S'pore high-speed rail: How profitable can it be?'. Print Edition | Subscribe