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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

(NST) We actually postponed KL-Singapore HSR project: Dr M


KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project has only been postponed and not scrapped.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohomad, in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, said there will be a need for a high-speed rail in the future but Malaysia could not afford it at the moment.

“So, we actually postponed the implementation of the project,” he was quoted as saying, in the special interview with the Japanese business journal on the sideline of the Future of Asia 2018 conference in Tokyo, yesterday.

Dr Mahathir had recently said that while such project may be beneficial in the future, the price tag of RM100 billion was too high at a time when the country was trying to reduce its RM1 trillion debt.

He also pointed out that the existing deal was not beneficial to Malaysia, as the track distance was too short to warrant the project’s cost.

“High-speed trains are most effective where the distance is very long. But where the distance is short, it doesn’t contribute much,” said Dr Mahathir.

“So, we need to rethink the high-speed rail. We cannot say we will never have a high-speed rail in Malaysia. What we can do is postpone the project because it is far too costly at this moment.”

On May 29, Dr Mahathir announced that the Cabinet has agreed to scrap the 350km HSR project.

He added that it would take some time to finalise the final points due to an existing agreement with the Singapore government.