High Speed Rail was proposed by M’sia in 2013: Khaw Boon Wan
Singapore will exercise right to compensation.
Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said in a statement released on Friday, June 1 that Singapore continues to incur costs while waiting for the Malaysian government to clarify its position on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project.
Malaysia proposed HSR project to Singapore
Khaw said that should Malaysia unilaterally terminate the project, Singapore will exercise its right to compensation for costs incurred according to the terms of the agreement.
He also added that Malaysia was the one that proposed the HSR project to Singapore in 2013, and that Singapore agreed as the government was convinced of the benefits it can bring to the country.
In addition, he said that although Singapore “continues to support the HSR project”, it still depends on Malaysia’s will.
This is Khaw’s statement in full:
“Following media reports that Malaysia has decided to terminate the HSR, Singapore has requested the Malaysian Government through diplomatic channels to clarify Malaysia’s position on the Project. We have informed the Malaysian Government that Singapore is continuing to incur costs on this Project as it awaits Malaysia’s clarification, and that in the event Malaysia terminates the Project, Singapore will study the implications and exercise our rights (including any right to compensation for expenses incurred) in accordance with the terms of the HSR Bilateral Agreement.
When Malaysia proposed the HSR Project to Singapore in 2013, Singapore agreed because we were convinced of the benefits of the Project to Singapore. We still believe that a high speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur would be in our mutual interest, economically as well as in terms of the friendship and mutual understanding of our two peoples.
Singapore continues to support the HSR Project and to fulfil all its obligations under the Agreement. However, it is only tenable to continue the Project if Malaysia likewise supports it, and is willing to fulfil its end of the Agreement. Singapore looks forward to being informed of Malaysia’s position on the matter.”
HSR proposed under Najib but scrapped under Mahathir
Malaysia, under former prime minister Najib Razak, signed the legally-binding bilateral agreement for the project with Singapore in December 2016.
Previously, the 92-year-old said that Najib was “crazy” to agree to the huge projects despite not thinking through how exactly should the country pay for them.
He also claimed that Malaysia currently has a national debt of RM1 trillion (S$337 billion), and that by dropping huge projects, the government can reduce the debt by RM200 billion (S$67 billion) “at one go”.
Ministers in the newly formed Malaysian government have also agreed to a 10 percent pay cut to reduce government spending.
On Thursday, May 31, a fund set up by the new government managed to collect around RM7 million within 24 hours from members of the public, showcasing the Malaysian people’s unity and a newfound sense of pride in voting in a new government that is free from graft and racial politics.
Top image via govsingapore/YT