Malaysia wants to go ahead with high-speed link to Singapore

Johor’s central station. The line may halt here if Singapore opts not to be involved (Slleong/CCO)
Malaysia is resurrecting its $28bn plan to build a high-speed railway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, Nikkei Asia reports. The line was agreed by the two sides in 2016 but halted by Malaysia in 2018 over cost concerns.

Seven proposals to build the link were submitted by consortiums led by China Railways, South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and local conglomerates MMC, Gamuda, YTL, WCT Holdings and Berjaya, it was reported in January.

MyHSR, the agency behind the project, will this month draw up a shortlist and present its review of the bids to the cabinet.

The Malaysian government is expected to present the proposal to Singapore over the next few months to determine if it still wants to take part.

MyHSR may halt the line at the southern state of Johor if Singapore decides not to participate. Malaysia is looking to make the state a special economic zone and a centre of national growth.

The agency said the scheme would be procured on the design-finance-build-operate-transfer model.

The latest signs of life follow a round of talks between Malaysia and Singapore held last March.

The 350km project was to have been completed in 2026. It was expected to shorten travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore from 6.5 hours to 90 minutes.

The initial cost estimate of $17.4bn rose to $27.6bn, leading then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to say it risked bankrupting the country.

The project was formally cancelled in January 2021, after which Malaysia paid $70m in compensation to Singapore.

Among the companies who were to have been involved in the scheme were Aecom, CH2M, Mott MacDonald, and WSP.

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