Malaysia and Singapore recently announced that the construction of Kuala Lumpur - Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project has been postponed to 31 May 2020. The bilateral meeting between the two governments to vary the HSR agreement took place on 5 September 2018 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
According to the joint statement from both countries, Malaysia and Singapore are still committed to the HSR project. However, at Malaysia’s request and in the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore has agreed to suspend the project.
Under the new agreement, Malaysia will pay the agreed costs in suspending the HSR project. If by 31 May 2020, Malaysia does not proceed with the project, it will also bear the agreed costs incurred by Singapore in fulfilling the HSR bilateral agreement. During the suspension period, Malaysia and Singapore will continue to discuss the best way forward for the HSR project with the aim of reducing costs.
The HSR Express Service between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is now expected to commence by 1 January 2031, instead of the original commencement date of 31 December 2026. Given the length of the suspension, Singapore and Malaysia’s Infrastructure Companies, SG HSR Pte Ltd and MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd will be calling off the ongoing international joint tender for the HSR Assets Company (AssetsCo).
The bilateral meeting was attended by Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Khaw Boon Wan, and Malaysia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin bin Ali, witnessed by YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, YAB Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean.
The ministers reaffirmed the mutual benefits of the HSR project as it will bring both countries closer together by improving connectivity, deepening people-to-people ties and catalysing further economic cooperation.