KL-Singapore HSR terminated following lapse in deadline

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project has been terminated, after both countries disagreed on Malaysia’s changes by the deadline of Dec 31, 2020.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin announced this in a Friday morning joint statement.

The statement said the Malaysian government had proposed several changes to the HSR project. These changes were in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy.

“Both governments have conducted several discussions concerning these changes and are unable to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR Agreement had lapsed on 31 December 2020.”

The statement said both countries would abide by their respective obligations. They will now proceed with the necessary actions, resulting from the termination of the HSR Agreement.

“Both countries remain committed to maintaining good bilateral relations and cooperate closely in various fields. These include strengthening the connectivity between the two countries.”

The joint statement on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project comes a day after the deadline for a decision.

PM Lee and Mr Muhyiddin had held talks on the HSR via videoconference on Dec 2, after Malaysia earlier proposed some changes.

Both sides said they would announce further details on the HSR Project through a joint statement in due course.

About the HSR project

Singapore and Malaysia signed HSR BA in 2016, during the government of ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The 350km rail line, which both sides agreed to build in 2013, was to have run from a terminal station in Bandar Malaysia in downtown Kuala Lumpur to a Jurong East terminal.

The HSR was slated to have seven stations. It would cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes. The travel time is a vast improvement comparing with over four hours by car and end-to-end by air.

Both countries signed a legally bilateral agreement on the project in Putrajaya in December 2016. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak both witnessed the momentous occasion.

Singapore commenced work on the project, including appointing a firm to design its HSR infrastructure.

A change in the Malaysian government following the May 2018 general election is the cause of the suspension.

Visit the Singapore Ministry of Transport website for more news on the HSR announcement.

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