SINGAPORE - Singapore 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, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Friday (June 1).
He was responding to recent media reports that the new Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad plans to cancel the project to build the 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore rail link.
Mr Khaw said that Singapore has "requested the Malaysian government through diplomatic channels to clarify Malaysia's position on the project".
The Republic has also informed Malaysia that Singapore "is continuing to incur costs", he said, but did not elaborate on what these costs involve.
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, Mr Khaw said.
"Singapore continues to support the HSR project and to fulfil all its obligations under the agreement," added Mr Khaw, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.
He said that when Malaysia proposed the HSR project to Singapore in 2013, the Republic agreed because it was convinced of the benefits to Singapore.
"We still believe that a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur would be in our mutual interest, economically as well as in terms of the friendship and mutual understanding of our two peoples," Mr Khaw noted.
The 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.
However, Malaysia has signalled its intention to scrap the project as it seeks to reduce its domestic debt. Dr Mahathir has said the project would cost Malaysia a total of RM110 billion (S$37 billion).