HSR revival still in early stage of discussion

The govt had proposed the HSR 2.0 (New) model to Singapore, including abolishing AssetCo, says minister

pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government has yet to decide on reviving the Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Singapore high speed rail (HSR) project as it is still in the early stages of discussions.

Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture) said, however, the government had proposed the HSR 2.0 (New) model to Singapore, including abolishing AssetCo plc.

“Under the HSR 2.0 model submitted to Singapore, Malaysia proposed to abolish AssetCo. Singapore did not agree with the proposal. With that, the bilateral agreement signed on Dec 13, 2016, was voided,” Mustapa told Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Mustapa noted that Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong have met on Nov 29 and raised the proposal to renegotiate the KL-Singapore HSR project.

“In his response, the PM of Singapore is open to accepting new proposals from Malaysia for this HSR project,” he said.

Responding to Bagan’s MP Lim Guan Eng query whether the KL-Singapore HSR project cost can be reduced to RM50 billion from RM100 billion, Mustapa maintained that is still too early and no cost has been discussed to-date.

But he said based on the estimates that have been made under the new proposed model of HSR 2.0 (New), the project cost is much lower than the proposed cost of HSR 1.0 or HSR 2.0.

Lee recently said the republic is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project although both countries previously agreed on the termination.

Lee said the transport ministries of both countries will discuss the matter and Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia.

On Jan 1, Malaysia and Singapore jointly announced the termination of the HSR project as both countries failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia before the project agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.

Economist Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi said it is unnecessary to do so, especially after Malaysia had paid RM320 million to cancel it and does not have the fiscal means to revive it now.

Meanwhile, on the KL-Iskandar Puteri HSR project, Mustapa aided that the feasibility study which began in February 2021 has been completed.

“The findings will be presented to the Cabinet shortly to determine the direction of the proposed project,” he further said.

He said there are three possibilities to the KL-Iskandar Puteri HSR project: Whether to postpone, cancel or amend the model.