KUALA LUMPUR: The fate of the mega Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project hinges on the outcome of the discussion between the two countries, said Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali on Wednesday (Jul 18).
“I’m not saying that it is a terrible project. Certainly, any infrastructure projects will benefit both Malaysia and Singapore,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby.
Mr Azmin said he would be meeting Singapore's Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan soon to find the best solution in the best interest of both countries.
“Well, I don’t wish to disclose the options at this moment. Let both parties meet and discuss all options available before us,” he added.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a press conference in May that his government will drop the HSR project, because it would not benefit Malaysia.
Mr Khaw said in Parliament last week that Singapore sent a diplomatic note to Malaysia on Jun 1, seeking Malaysia's position on the project, but added that the country has not received a reply.
On Monday, Mr Azmin said the meeting will be held by the end of the month.
He said the HSR solution must also preserve the long-standing diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Singapore.
“We always regard and will continue to regard Singapore not only as our strategic partner but also a crucial partner,” he added.
Singapore's Transport Ministry confirmed on Thursday that the Malaysian government has informed Singapore that it will communicate the proposed dates for the meeting by end of July.
"We are waiting to receive these dates from Malaysia," the ministry said.
On Wednesday, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak questioned Azmin about the economic impact of cancelling the HSR project.
Najib asked the government to disclose the impact the project would have had on the economy and on jobs creation, arguing that the HSR was a project many people wanted.