Malaysia hopes to finalise high-speed rail agreement ahead of leaders' retreat

Malaysia hopes to finalise high-speed rail agreement ahead of leaders' retreat

Malaysia is hopeful that the information gathered from the market sensing exercise jointly undertaken with neighbouring Singapore will help both countries finalise the bilateral agreement in time for signing at the annual leaders' retreat next year.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is hopeful that the information gathered from the market sensing exercise jointly undertaken with neighbouring Singapore will help planners decide on the best options for the high-speed rail (HSR) project .

The request for information exercise was jointly launched by Malaysia and Singapore on Wednesday (Oct 7) to seek industry views on the high-speed rail that will cut travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.

Companies or consortiums that are interested in taking part in the design, funding, construction, operations and maintenance of HSR, are encouraged to register their interest before October 16.

“It’s too early to tell; we hope to get as much information as possible so it can be used during bilateral discussions in the committee to discuss the best way forward for all sides," said MyHSR Corporation CEO Mohd Nur Ismal.

Mohd Nur, who now oversees the development of HSR, says once the market sensing exercise is over in December both countries can work to finalise the bilateral agreement in time for signing at the annual leaders’ retreat next year.

He says he does not foresee that the current economic slowdown - with the ringgit at an all-time low - will affect the project roll out.

"This is a long-term project, the implementation of multi-year programme. I don’t see how the current situations are going to affect the cash flow patterns,” said Mohd Nur. “We are hoping that we can see progress smoothly and the quicker we do it, the quicker we see the benefits from it."

The tender process will only begin later next year after the signing of the bilateral agreement.

Japan and China, as well as several European countries have already expressed keen interest in the HSR project. They include Japan Railways and China CRRC Corporation.

Source: CNA/ec