M’sia, S’pore to resume discussions on HSR project soon: Azmin

31 May 2020 / 18:46 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian and Singaporean governments have agreed to resume discussions on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) infrastructure project in the near future, said Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pix).

In a statement today, he said the discussions would encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects of the project.

Azmin said this decision was arrived at after both sides had mutually agreed to extend the deferment of the KL-Singapore HSR project to Dec 31, 2020.

“I have been asked by the Cabinet to lead the Malaysian team in the discussions with the Singapore government on this project,” he added.

Previously on Sept 5, 2018, both governments had agreed to suspend the construction of the bilateral project until May 31, 2020 to find the best way forward for the project.

The Malaysian government has been reviewing the project with MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd to identify cost reduction options, such as reviewing and optimising the alignment, station locations and business model.

In its response, Singapore’s Transport Ministry confirmed that the Malaysian government has informed the republic that it would like to propose some changes to the HSR project and has requested a seven-month extension to allow both sides to discuss Malaysia’s proposal.

In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, the ministry said Singapore has agreed to a “final extension” of the HSR Project suspension by seven months to Dec 31, 2020.

“We look forward to receiving Malaysia’s formal proposal on the changes to the HSR project soon, so that both sides can begin discussions immediately,“ it said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, the republic’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the extension should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes.

“Covid-19 pandemic does inconvenience the discussions but tele-conferencing can largely overcome the difficulty. The key is joint commitment to the project’s vision and mutual trust.

“Nevertheless, the HSR is a complex project, and both sides have to be convinced that the changes do not undermine the original intent of the project.

“I remain optimistic that a HSR linking our two capitals will benefit both our peoples,“ Khaw who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure said in his Facebook page. — Bernama

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