Malaysia to review high-speed rail link to Singapore, other mega projects

Malaysia to review high-speed rail link to Singapore, other mega projects

Azmin Ali
Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali. (Photo: Facebook/Azmin Ali)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will review the implementation of mega projects such as the high-speed rail line to Singapore, and a US$14 billion rail project connecting the country's east and west coasts, state news agency Bernama reported on Tuesday (May 22), citing the economic affairs minister.

Mohamed Azmin Ali also said the government will ensure projects that will be implemented in the future are transparent and open, without any direct deals, according to Bernama.

Malaysia's new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has vowed to review some projects approved by the earlier administration, including the East Coast Rail Line - a 55 billion ringgit (US$13.84 billion) rail project that will link Malaysia's east coast on the South China Sea to Kuala Lumpur and the strategic shipping routes of the Strait of Malacca in the west.

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project will cut across four states in Malaysia and is expected to stimulate development along the corridor and create economic clusters around the seven stations from Bandar Malaysia, Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka to Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri before leaving the international border to Singapore.

The rail link is expected to contribute RM21 billion (S$6.7 billion) in gross domestic product to Malaysia and Singapore, as well as create 111,000 jobs by 2060.

Land acquisition for the project is expected to start in the second half of 2018.

Azmin said last Saturday that an agreement had been signed between Malaysia and Singapore to build the rail link, but this did not mean it could not be reviewed.

"Certainly we need to renegotiate certain terms. We want to see whether the whole process was transparent or otherwise," he said. "So it is my duty to get a team and look and sit down and discuss. And we may have to renegotiate all these projects."

Source: Reuters/CNA/aa(cy)