SINGAPORE: Chief Secretary to the Malaysian government Dr Ali Hamsa wants the civil service to ensure the timely implementation of the high-speed rail (HSR) project between Singapore and Malaysia.
He also wants the civil service, which is directly involved in the project, to work hard to ensure its implementation.
"It is very important that the project is implemented successfully and be operational by 2026," he told Bernama.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the HSR project was signed between Malaysia and Singapore on Jul 19.
Ali said both countries were now in discussions to finalise the agreement by December this year.
He was in Singapore recently to attend the 39th Public Service Games and 8th Joint Seminar for Public Service Leaders of Singapore and Malaysia.
Ali was asked to respond to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had previously said the HSR is a massive, long-term investment and thus, "good execution will be crucial".
Lee was in Malaysia in July to witness the signing of the HSR MoU with Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"PM Najib and I agreed to build the HSR between KL and Singapore three years ago. Since then our officials have worked hard and long, through several Ramadans and Rayas, to reach agreement on key issues.
"We need to work closely together on many joint decisions and implementation issues. PM Najib and I will give full attention to this, because we want this major project to be done right," he said.
The 350 km rail venture will reduce travel time between the two countries to just 90 minutes, with speeds of over 300km/hr.
For Singapore, the HSR terminus will be in Jurong East.
In Malaysia, it will have seven stations, namely in Bandar Malaysia, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri.
The first train is expected to start running in 2026.