According to SPAD CEO, the project was not conceived solely as a transportation plan
By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
The Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project is expected to generate RM21 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and create over 100,000 jobs by 2050, said Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah.
He said the project was not conceived solely as a transportation plan, but as an avenue to develop the economy, help communities within the corridor to seek employment and participate in the project.
Mohd Azharuddin said the project, which will begin construction at the end of next year, has long-term economic and social benefits and would contribute 30% of the national gross commissionable income.
“This project is important because it is about developing the corridor (from KL to Singapore) and the cities along the corridor.
“Through this project, cities like Muar, Seremban and Melaka are meant to be transformed,” he said at the fourth edition of the HSR Asia 2017 summit in KL yesterday.
On the project cost, Mohd Azharuddin said SPAD has not decided on a budget or even set a target.
“It will depend on the proposals we get, as setting a target would affect the tender proposals.
“There will be no preference or advantage for any particular country as we only want the best for this project. So, we will look into all factors including cost, quality and efficiency,” he said, adding that cost is one of the many influencing factors.
The AssetsCo open tender, Mohd Azharuddin said, will be called by year-end.
Last month, both MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said they will jointly conduct a second industry briefing on Sept 26 for the AssetsCo tender.
Mohd Azharuddin also said SPAD will not be involved in deciding the HSR fee.
“We feel that is the best for the public and for the operators (of the HSR). They will need to set the rates to ensure it is competitive with airlines and buses because this service reduces the travelling time by many folds,” he said.
“They (operators) will set the appropriate rates for the peak and off peak seasons.”
It was previously reported that MyHSR Corp CEO Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal had set the round-trip fee on the HSR under RM400, but the actual fee has yet to be confirmed.
Since the announcement, various quarters have expressed concerns on how the rail project would affect the air travel industry.
The KL-Singapore HSR is a strategic project between KL and Singapore aimed to facilitate travel between the two nations and enhance business linkages.
The rail will open with eight stations — including Bandar Malaysia, Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri stations — in Malaysia and the Jurong East station in Singapore.
The operation of the KL-Singapore service is expected to start by Dec 31, 2026.