The country does not need a high-speed train connecting KL to Singapore at the moment, says PM
By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Graphic By TMR
The counters linked to the proposed Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project took a beat ing yesterday after the government disclosed no urgency in proceeding with the project.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the country does not need a high-speed train connecting KL to Singapore at the moment, thus boosting investors’ expectations the project could be another mega project like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to be revived.
Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity), who was in the run-up as the master developer for Bandar Malaysia that will host one of the HSR stations, saw its shares fall 10.75%, or 10 sen to 83 sen, from its year-high of RM1.01 on April 10, while Ekovest Bhd’s shares fell 4.35% or 2.5 sen to 55 sen.
Both counters are controlled by property tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo.
Prior to the PM’s announcement on Tuesday, the counters had been actively traded s ince the government revealed a more positive standpoint for the ECRL, signalling a potential revival for the HSR project.
Last week, Dr Mahathir told reporters at a press conference that the government is exploring proposals to reduce the total cost of HSR, which was previously calculated at RM110 billion before it was postponed.
The announcement help lift IWCity’s shares to year-high of RM1.01 from 42.5 sen in early February, while Ekovest’s shares rose to a six-month peak of 64 sen.
The PM on Tuesday stated that an HSR is trivial to the country and the government will instead be focusing on improving the quality of existing railway services.
Furthermore, he stressed that the journey between Singapore to KL is only shortened by 30 minutes compared to flight but there is a possibility for Malaysia to build a highspeed train at a later time which span along Johor Baru to Penang or up to the Thailand border.
The HSR project was suspended in September last year until end of May 2020 following the signing of a supplementary agreement between Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.