by BERNAMA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Johor government has reacted favourably to the federal government’s decision to resume discussions with Singapore over the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, which has been postponed a few times.
Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state government welcomed the continuation of the HSR project for the benefit of both countries.
Although Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to extend the suspension period until Dec 31 this year, he expressed confidence that this would allow for more meetings and discussions to refine the project’s technical and commercial aspects.
“The Johor government will give its utmost cooperation and assistance in order to realise the project. Previously, the two countries have agreed to proceed with the project although it may be scaled down to reduce cost, including train speed,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said Johor would always support a high-impact and people-oriented project such as the HSR, as it had the potential of bringing many mutual benefits and high economic spill-over effect for both countries, including contributing towards the development of Johor, particularly the districts located along the route alignment.
“The HSR service will expand the network and enhance the efficiency of the transportation system in the country, as well as the state. It will also create more jobs for locals whether for high-, medium- and low-skilled workers,” Hasni said.
He added that the rapid development in the area would have an economic spill-over effect on the districts and local residents, including the small traders, and increase their income.
It was reported previously that Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to resume talks on the 350km rail line project in “the near future”.
Malaysia’s Senior Minister (Eonomic Cluster) Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is also the International Trade and Industry minister, said in a statement that the discussions would encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects.
He said the decision was arrived at after the two sides mutually agreed to extend the deferment of the HSR project, which was previously due to resume at the end of May, until the end of the year.