Leaders from Singapore, Malaysia are in talks on HSR project; announcement of further details in due course

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin discussed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed ​​Rail (HSR) project, in view of the December 31, 2020 deadline for the second and final extension of the suspension of construction.

The offices of both prime ministers said in a joint statement Wednesday (Dec. 2) that further details on the project would be given “in due course.”


Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung during a video conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on December 2, 2020. (Photo: MCI / LH Goh)

The two leaders “took stock of the progress of the talks” during a video conference and “had gained a good understanding of the respective positions of Malaysia and Singapore”.

Messrs. Lee and Muhyiddin also reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, covering many areas of cooperation, and the sincere desire to further strengthen these relations for mutual benefit.

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In November, the Malaysian government said it plans to proceed with the HSR project given the “positive multiplier effect” on the economy.

This followed the September 2018 announcement by Singapore and Malaysia to postpone construction of the HSR until the end of May this year. Malaysia had to pay Singapore S $ 15 million for the costs incurred to suspend the project.

Malaysia later requested a further extension of seven months to allow both parties to discuss and assess Malaysia’s proposed changes to the project.

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, then Singapore’s Transport Minister, agreed to “extend the suspension period definitively” to December 31.

Both countries had also announced that the HSR service was expected to start on January 1, 2031, instead of its original start date of December 31, 2026, as a result of that suspension.

The proposed HSR line aims to shorten travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to approximately 90 minutes by train, from the current 11 hours with existing train services.

When operational, the line will provide an express service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, a domestic service from Kuala Lumpur to Iskandar Puteri, and a shuttle service from Iskandar Puteri to Jurong East.

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