Singapore, Malaysia to ink agreement today to defer high-speed rail project

An artist's impression of the Bandar Malaysia station, which was to be the first station on the KL-Singapore HSR.
An artist's impression of the Bandar Malaysia station, which was to be the first station on the KL-Singapore HSR.PHOTO: EDELMAN

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Malaysia are set to sign an agreement to defer the high-speed rail (HSR) project on Wednesday afternoon (Sept 5).

The signing will be witnessed by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is in Malaysia for a visit, as well as by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

It will take place at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya at around 2pm, according to a media invite issued by the Malaysian Government.

Both countries have been in talks over a deferment of the 350km line, which will run between Kuala Lumpur and Jurong East.

Earlier this week, Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said an agreement had been reached to postpone the project, and that it would resume once the deferral ends.

A Singapore Ministry of Transport spokesman, meanwhile, said both sides were still in discussions and "hope to reach a mutually acceptable outcome soon".

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad initially wanted to scrap the project after his Pakatan Harapan government won the May election, as part of a review of mega projects to reduce debts.

 

But he later said KL would negotiate a delay, as a cancellation would entail a high amount of compensation under the HSR agreement both countries had signed.