Why It Matters
Duration: 8:36 mins
Synopsis: In this new podcast series for 2018, The Straits Times takes a close look at one key news talking point each week.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has already announced that his government intends to scrap the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR), in a move to control government spending and reduce the nation's RM1 trillion (S$337 billion) debt burden. The Mahathir administration said that the cost of building the line, at RM110 billion (S$37 billion), is prohibitive considering the state of Malaysia's finances.
The Singapore Government has said it is continuing to incur costs on the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project while it awaits clarification from Malaysia regarding its intention to scrap the HSR. The 350km rail link was expected to cut travel time between the two cities from four hours by car currently to 90 minutes when completed in 2026.
Should Malaysia cancel the project, Singapore will study the implications and exercise its rights - including any right to compensation for expenses - in accordance with the terms of a bilateral agreement signed in 2016.
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