M'sian transport minister urged to investigate why HSR plans were derailed

The air route between the two cities is the busiest in the world.

Tan Min-Wei | December 08, 2022, 04:58 PM

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Malaysian Minister of Transport Anthony Loke has been urged by a former deputy minister to investigate why the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) was canceled, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported.


Aziz Kaprawi, who was the deputy transport minister at the time of HSR's announcement, denounced the decision to end it as "stupid".

The HSR was canceled by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government of Muhyiddin Yassin at the end of 2020, after it was allowed to lapse.

At the time, the project had already been put into two rounds of hiatus by the previous Mahathir Mohamad-led Pakatan Harapan government.

Aziz said that numerous studies had shown that the HSR project would have benefited Malaysia's people and economy, and questioned whether a similar level of effort had gone into justifying its cancelation.

Criticising the PN government for a "total lack of transparency", he asked what studies it had referred to when making its decision, or whether it had considered any alternatives.

The PN's then-Minister of Economic Affairs Mustapa Mohamed had said that following the HSR project's cancellation, the ministry had submitted a study that looked into an alternative HSR line between Johor Bahru and KL that did not include Singapore.

Aziz called for the details of the study to be made public, and that other experts had said such a route would not be viable.


The HSR project, initially agreed upon in 2013, was delayed by the PH government in 2018.

Its cancellation cost the Malaysian government over S$100 million dollars in compensatory payments.

However, before the project's body was even cold, there were moves underfoot to revive it.

Muhyiddin's PM replacement, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had said that the project should be revived, as well as PH's former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Ever since PH regained power and Anwar Ibrahim became PM, the HSR has been brought up time and time again by commentators speculating about whether its time has come again.

Even Muhyiddin has come around to the idea again, saying in the run up to the Johor state elections that he supports the project, albeit not under the specific terms that the original agreement was made, as reported by the Malay Mail.

Muhyiddin had said that the original agreement was a threat to Malaysia's sovereignty.

What is clear is that there is much demand for travel between KL and Singapore. Prior to the pandemic, the air route was the busiest in the world.

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Top image of Anthony Loke Siew Fook/Facebook & Artist impression of proposed HSR Terminus in Jurong East