M'sia has become 'international laughing stock' for proposing to revive HSR: Lim Guan Eng

He demanded ministers involved in the HSR's termination to resign.

Faris Alfiq | November 30, 2021, 06:58 PM

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Malaysia has become "an international laughing stock" for proposing to revive the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, the country's opposition member Lim Guan Eng said.

This was after they paid Singapore RM320 million (S$102.8 million) as compensation for terminating the project, he added.

The secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) said in a statement posted on his Twitter account on Nov. 30 that the "flip-flop" is "symbolic" of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN) governments' "incompetence and indecisiveness", which has cost taxpayers' money "unnecessarily" for a "start-stop project".

Malaysia PM suggested reviving the HSR

On Nov. 29, during a joint press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared that his Malaysian counterpart has suggested reviving the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR project, and it has been amicably settled and closed, PM Lee said.

He added that Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project, and the two ministries of transport will discuss the matter.

"Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia so that we can study them and consider the matter again starting from a clean slate," PM Lee added.

PH only delayed, PN recommended paying compensation

Lim highlighted that the Pakatan Harapan government had only "delayed the project" in 2018 to review the "exorbitant pricing and the cost structure" by the BN government.

However, he said that it was Muhyiddin Yassin's government that was willing to pay the compensation and replace it with KL-Johor Bahru HSR.

"The HSR project is not financially viable and logistically impractical if its rail line stops in Johor Bahru and does not pass through Singapore," Lim said in the statement.

Demands ministers to resign

Lim added that there must be full accountability and transparency of the cancellation of HSR.

He demanded the resignation of ministers responsible for making the recommendation to terminate the Singapore-KL HSR project.

"Muhyiddin Yassin has already resigned as prime minister," Lim wrote.

He added that the ministers involved, such as Minister for International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali, Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamad and the Transport Ministry, must explain their decision to terminate the project.

Questioned Ismail Sabri's commitment to transparency

Lim ended his statement by questioning Ismail Sabri whether he will conform to open tenders and transparency under the revived HSR project, and ensure that the cost structure will not be excessive and disadvantageous to Malaysia.

He further wrote that Singapore's former Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung shared that the main reason why both countries were unable to reach an agreement on the HSR project was because Malaysia wanted to do away with the jointly-tendered asset company, Assets Company.

Ong said that Assets Company would have ensured accountability to both countries, Lim added in his statement.

"Clearly, this lack of commitment to transparency and open tenders by the Malaysian government is disappointing," Lim wrote.

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Top images via Lim Guan Eng/Facebook and an artist impression of the Kuala Lumpur Bandar Malaysia HSR Terminus