KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a costly mistake if the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) is aborted, said the chief executive officer of MyHSR Corp Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal on Thursday (May 3).
Opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad had in 2017 said that the project is not a done deal if the opposition comes to power.
Speaking at a media briefing on the appointment of two project delivery partners for the civil works on the 335km stretch that will be built in Malaysia, Mohd Nur Ismal said that a lot of time, effort and money have gone into the planning of the HSR.
“It has been eight years of many man and woman hours that went in to make sure this is done well in terms of delivery in a way that will ensure maximum benefits are realised,“ he said.
“If we don’t do it, not only we have to incur abortive cost in our own border, we also may have to provide compensation to Singapore. This, even though it is quite big, is minuscule compared to huge opportunities we are going to miss."
The HSR project that cuts across four states in Malaysia aims 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.
Although Mr Mohd Nur has not disclosed the actual sunk costs so far and the penalty Malaysia will have to fork out for aborting the project, he said the amount would run into billions.
MRCB Gamuda JV has been appointed to handle the civil work for the northern stretch of 135km from Bandar Malaysia to Melaka station.
A joint venture company comprising Yeoh Tiong Lay and TH Properties (YTL-TH JV) will be in charge of the 200km southern portion from Melaka.
Meanwhile, the submission of bids for the Assets Company to design, build, as well as operate and maintain the train and tracks, communications and signalling system for the entire 350km-HSR has been extended till Dec 28, the CEO said, adding that this is to allow bidders more time to come up with value for money proposals without paying too high a risk premium.
At least six bidders from countries like China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, and Europe have expressed their interests in taking part in the bid.
The extension of the bid submission will not affect the commencement of the high speed rail that is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2026.
The civil works for the HSR in Malaysia is expected to create about 70,000 jobs.
It is also expected to create about 5,000 sub-contract packages where 40 per cent in value will be allocated to Bumiputera companies.