Singapore has agreed to Malaysia’s request for a seven-month extension to the High Speed Rail (HSR) project suspension, till year-end.
The construction of the HSR project linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur has been suspended since two years ago.
Singapore’s transport minister, Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post on Sunday (May 31) that Malaysia’s senior minister Azmin Ali wrote to him to request the extension to discuss Malaysia’s proposed changes to the project.
“As any project change requires our agreement, the extended suspension will allow both countries to assess the changes that Malaysia has in mind,” he said, adding that both parties have “agreed to a final extension of the suspension period to 31 December 2020”.
He further said: “This should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes.
“The key is joint commitment to the project’s vision and mutual trust. Nevertheless, the HSR is a complex project, and both sides have to be convinced that the changes do not undermine the original intent of the project.”
Previously, in early September 2018, both sides had agreed to suspend the construction of the bilateral project until May 31, 2020 to determine the best way forward for the project. On Malaysia’s part, the government had been reviewing the project to identify ways to reduce costs.
Commenting on the project, Johor’s chief minister Hasni Mohammad expressed hopes that the HSR project will continue as it would benefit the economies of both countries and open many job opportunities, reported The Star.
“Besides workers, the project will also help the people and traders in the districts due to the economic impact that will be spurred along the HSR route,” the report quoted him as saying. “This project will also help improve connectivity around the country.”