Malaysia axes project to build high-speed rail link with Singapore

Image via The Malaysian Reserve

Image via The Malaysian Reserve

Subang MP Wong Chen has urged the government to disclose details of the agreement governing the High Speed Rail (HSR) project following news that Malaysia may have to pay Singapore a huge sum of money for cancelling the deal.

"If we don't do it, not only we have to incur abortive cost in our own border, we also may have to provide compensation to Singapore", said company CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal.

He first told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday, ahead of the press conference, that he would drop the HSR.

"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110 billion (US$28 billion) and will not earn us a single cent".

Jurong Lake District is where the terminus for the high speed rail was to have been sited - into Singapore's second central business district. We have entered into an agreement with Singapore.

Dr Mahathir's bold remark comes amid widespread speculation that his recent victory at the polls may have a dampening effect on relations between Malaysia in Singapore.

Rail firms from China, Japan and South Korea had expressed interest in bidding for the project.

The planned double-track link between the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was set to connect the two in 90 minutes with seven stations in Malaysia and one in Singapore.

Abdul Rahman said Malaysia would lose an estimated RM209 billion in gross national income (GNI) contribution and also the potential to create 70,000 jobs if the HSR was called off.

Mahathir is moving swiftly to stabilise the nation's finances after the government reported that debt was higher than previously disclosed under the former administration.

The huge debt is partly due to a massive corruption scandal at the 1MDB state investment fund set up by Najib that led voters to abandon him, and sparked investigations in the US and several other countries.

The former leader and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been barred from leaving the country after the new government reopened an investigation into the scandal.

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