Parliament: High-speed rail

HSR termination will not affect overall plans for Jurong: Ong

When completed, the Jurong Lake District will be the largest commercial and regional centre outside of Singapore's city centre, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament yesterday.
When completed, the Jurong Lake District will be the largest commercial and regional centre outside of Singapore's city centre, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament yesterday.PHOTO: KCAP

The termination of the proposed high-speed rail project will not affect overall plans for the Jurong Lake District (JLD), said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung yesterday.

He told Parliament that the Ministry of National Development had started planning to transform Jurong as early as 2008, as part of a broader effort to develop urban centres outside the Central Business District.

The plans for the JLD were therefore developed well before Malaysia proposed the current HSR project, Mr Ong said.

"It was only much later, in 2015, that we decided to locate the Singapore terminus of the HSR in Jurong," he noted in response to Mr Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC).

"The termination of the HSR project, therefore, does not affect the overall impetus and vision for JLD, although some details may need to be adjusted along the way."

Malaysia had allowed the HSR bilateral agreement to lapse on the deadline of Dec 31 last year, after both sides could not agree to changes it had proposed.

Had the project gone through, it would have cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes, down from about four to five hours by car.

The terminus station in Singapore was to be constructed in Jurong East, and would have been accessible by four MRT lines.

The surrounding JLD was positioned, in 2017, as Singapore's future second Central Business District, with an ambitious 20-year blueprint for commercial, housing, nature and transport developments, along with the potential for creating some 100,000 new jobs.

Mr Ong said yesterday that when completed, the JLD will be the largest commercial and regional centre outside of Singapore's city centre.

This would also bring businesses and recreation opportunities to the area, he added.

He said the land parcels that the Government has acquired are still needed to realise these plans.

"We will be able to realise the full potential of the land to benefit Singaporeans," he added.

For example, the Jurong Country Club site will provide for new mixed-use developments and community facilities, he said.

In May 2015, the Government had gazetted the acquisition of the 67ha plot of land, which is located beside Jurong Lake.

It had planned to use close to 20 per cent of the land for the HSR terminus.

The remainder of the land was earmarked to be transformed into a mixed-use development comprising offices, hotels, retail and residences.

Meanwhile, the Raffles Country Club site - which spans about 143ha - is still needed for the Cross Island Line's western depot and the integrated train-testing centre, said Mr Ong.

The Government had gazetted the acquisition of the land, located near Tuas, in January 2017.

It said then that the site was the most suitable location to run HSR tracks immediately after the bridge crossing from Johor, among other uses.

Toh Ting Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2021, with the headline 'HSR termination will not affect overall plans for Jurong: Ong'. Subscribe