KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — The government has not decided whether to resume the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project given that discussion is still in its early stages.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the project was cancelled after the bilateral agreement on the project lapsed on December 31, 2020.
However, he noted that during a meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on November 29, 2021, the proposal to renegotiate the KL-Singapore HSR project was raised.
“In response, the Singapore prime minister expressed openness to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project.
“I would like to stress that the possibility of reviving the KL-Singapore HSR project is still in the early stages of discussion,” Mustapa said during the Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was replying to questions from Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, who wanted to know whether the KL-Johor Bahru HSR project would be cancelled and replaced with the proposed KL-Singapore HSR project, the estimated costs of the two projects, and whether the negotiations with Singapore would ensure a reduction in the original cost of RM100 billion to RM50 billion.
In that regard, Mustapa added, the issue whether the KL-Singapore HSR project’s cost could be reduced to RM50 billion did not arise.
“Based on estimates made by Malaysia, under the model being proposed, namely HSR 2.0 (New), the project cost is far lower than the proposed costs for HSR 1.0 and HSR 2.0,” he said.
According to Mustapa, the model structure under HSR 1.0 and 2.0 included the establishment of AssetCo, a private entity to be overseen jointly by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore.
“The company functions as the owner of the rail system and assets with the responsibility of building, financing and maintaining the system and assets as well as carrying out the procurement and maintenance of the rolling stock.
“Under the HSR 2.0 (New) model submitted to Singapore, Malaysia proposed to abolish AssetCo. Singapore did not agree with the proposal. With that, the bilateral agreement signed on December 13, 2016, was terminated,” he explained.
He said that with the cancellation of the KL-Singapore HSR, the Malaysian government decided to conduct a feasibility study on a KL-Iskandar Puteri HSR project.
Mustapa said the study, which started in February 2021, had been completed and would be presented to the Cabinet in the near future to determine the next move.
He also explained that since 2013, all negotiations involving the HSR project had been led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) and the Economic Affairs Minister.
He noted that in mid-2020, the Cabinet decided that he should helm the negotiations to finalise the project with Singapore.
“At this time, the government is still in the process of transferring MyHSR Corporation, the special purpose vehicle established to negotiate technical matters involving the HSR project, from the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department to the Transport Ministry.
“Therefore, all further discussions and negotiations on the project’s direction will be handled by the Transport Ministry,” Mustapa said.