PM Lee says M'sia wants to revive High Speed Rail talks, looks forward to 'fresh proposals'

Round 2.

Belmont Lay | November 29, 2021, 03:35 PM

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Malaysia has mooted the idea of discussing the High Speed Rail (HSR) deal with Singapore again, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday, Nov. 29 during a joint press conference with his Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri.

PM Lee said at the press conference in Singapore that the country is open to fresh proposals to relook the deal.

The Singapore leader said he had responded to Ismail’s suggestion by noting that both countries had already agreed to terminate the HSR project and rendered the matter amicably settled and closed.

PM Lee said: “Nevertheless, 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.”

Ismail is in Singapore as he made an appearance at the Woodlands Checkpoint for the start of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between the two countries.

PM Lee also said the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project was discussed.

“Construction is ongoing and we look forward to the RTS system commencing passenger service by the end of 2026,” he said.

PM Lee added that Singapore also continues to support the development of Iskandar Malaysia "to give the project another further push", and noted that the 14th joint committee for Iskandar Malaysia will convene in December 2022.

Ismail said both sides agreed on the need to resume existing bilateral mechanisms, such as the annual leaders’ retreat that was called off twice due to the pandemic.

The next retreat has been planned to take place in the first quarter of next year, he said.

Background on cancelled HSR plan

Malaysia paid more than S$102 million in compensation to Singapore as announced in March 2021 after the termination of the HSR project.

Both countries failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia by the Dec 31, 2020 deadline.

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Top image: Artist impression of KL-SG HSR, SG HSR