KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) is expected to contribute RM21 billion (S$6.7 billion) in gross domestic product (GDP) to Malaysia and Singapore, as well as create 111,000 jobs by 2060.
Delivering his opening keynote address at the 4th International Summit of the HSR Asia 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (Sep 12), Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Chief Executive Officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said, through a comprehensively inclusive plan, the HSR was expected to deliver significant socio-economic benefits to both Malaysia and Singapore.
"The KL-Singapore HSR is a game-changer and it will pull isolated regions closer, spur growth and development and help several towns along the way and unleash their hidden potentials by making them highly accessible,” he said. “Not just to tourists, but also to workers and investors."
"We expect the HSR to substantially increase the number of travellers across the two countries,” he added. “And under the transit-oriented development concept, engender economic activities along its route, including and not limited to business activities in the surrounding areas of the stations."
According to Mohd Azharuddin, there is a pent-up demand for travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as seen by the number of cross-border buses and flights between the two cities.
"Introducing the rail into the equation will offer a competitive option that promises to save, not just time, but will lead to many other opportunities," he said.
Nevertheless, he said, there were complex issues to be worked on, including funding options, network expansion, capacity increment, communications and signalling and safety and security.
"In this regard, complex undertakings like a cross-border high-speed rail cannot be executed by looking at mere anecdotes or skimming through easy examples - we need to analyse comprehensive data sets to arrive at more robust conclusions," Mohd Azharuddin said.
SAFETY A KEY CONSIDERATION
He added that together with its counterpart, the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA), SPAD would ensure that safety remained the key consideration in design and operations of the HSR.
Mohd Azharuddin said following the success of the first industry briefing held in Singapore on Jul 5, MyHSR Corp and LTA would jointly conduct a second briefing in preparation for the HSR tender.
"The second briefing, which is scheduled for Sep 26, will provide in-depth information on technical, commercial and project governance aspects of the project and also serve as a platform to share key features of the project with the industry and interested participants.”
Mohd Azharuddin added that Malaysia and Singapore were expected to sign a bilateral agreement for the Johor Bahru-Woodlands Rapid Transit System Link project this December.
"This cross-border rail project is important as it serves to provide relief to the perpetually-congested Causeway - one of the world’s busiest land checkpoints serving not only Malaysians and Singaporeans, but also lots of foreigners," he said.
The two-day international summit, which started on Tuesday, discussed the challenges and opportunities in high-speed rail and rail construction in Asia based on the based on the success of other countries.