The government of Singapore has agreed to a Malaysian request to postpone the start of work on its $28bn high-speed rail link with Kuala Lumpur until the end of the year.
The two countries were to begin the scheme in May, following an earlier suspension agreed in September 2018.
Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s transport minister, said on a Facebook post yesterday that Malaysia had requested the delay to discuss changes to the project.
He said: "As any project change requires our agreement, the extended suspension will allow both countries to assess the changes that Malaysia has in mind. In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, we have agreed to a final extension of the suspension period to 31 December."
Datuk Seri Azmin, Malaysia’s trade and industry minister, said his country wanted to discuss changes to the "commercial and technical" aspects of the project.
The 350km line aims to reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to around 90 minutes, compared with 11 hours using existing services.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad had wanted to scrap the project as part of a plan to cut $230bn from the national debt. However, the Malaysian government later decided to suspend it for two years to avoid paying compensation to Singapore.
â€‹Image: Artist’s render of the planned 197ha Bandar Malaysia business district in Kuala Lumpur, to be developed around the terminus of the high-speed railway (TRX City)