Malaysia, Singapore closer to win-win deal on HSR, says KL minister

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Khaw, Azmin also discuss rail link to Johor Baru; decisions on both projects to be announced soon

Malaysia and Singapore are likely to reach a decision soon on both the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) and the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS), Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

He posted on Facebook that he had a meeting in Singapore with Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali yesterday, and that they were "brainstorming ideas on how to further our bilateral relationship". "We should be able to announce our joint decisions on RTS and HSR soon," said Mr Khaw, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.

Datuk Seri Azmin also said in a Facebook post that both countries were "inching closer to a win-win deal on HSR".

During his visit, he also paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Mr Azmin said he spoke to PM Lee on how the two countries could further enhance cooperation and enjoy mutual economic growth.

In May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said his newly elected government wanted to scrap the 350km rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, originally slated for completion in 2026.

Later, Malaysia said it would negotiate with Singapore and seek a deferment of the project.

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan posted on Facebook that he had a meeting in Singapore with Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali yesterday, and that they were "brainstorming ideas on how to further our bilateral relationship".

As for the 4km RTS between Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru and Woodlands North, it was scheduled to open by end 2024 .

But a June 30 deadline for Singapore's SMRT and Malaysia's national rail operator Prasarana Malaysia to incorporate a joint venture company to operate the line was missed.

Separately, Johor's Menteri Besar Osman Sapian has said that his state government is in talks with an unnamed company on building a third link to Singapore in the next three to four years.

He said the bridge could link Pengerang in south-east Johor to Pulau Ubin, with motorists continuing on to Singapore via an undersea tunnel. It could ease traffic congestion on the two existing land links as well as boost Pengerang's economy, Datuk Osman added.

Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir told reporters he was aware of the plans, but did not give further details.

In response to media queries, Singapore's Transport Ministry said it had not received any official proposal or communications from Malaysia on a third link.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysia, S'pore closer to win-win deal on HSR, says KL minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe