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Singapore open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on discontinued High-Speed Rail project, says Lawrence Wong

Singapore open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on discontinued High-Speed Rail project, says Lawrence Wong

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong called on Malaysia's Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday, Sep 5 2022 during an official visit to Malaysia. (Photo: MCI)

SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (Sep 5) told Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob that Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the terminated Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

Mr Wong also noted Malaysia's interest in reviving discussions on the project - echoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's comments after he met his counterpart Mr Ismail Sabri during the Malaysian premier's first official visit to Singapore in November last year.

Mr Wong, who is also Singapore's Finance Minister, is on his first official visit to Malaysia since being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in June.

The HSR project, which aimed to reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to about 90 minutes, was discontinued after multiple postponements at Malaysia's request and an eventual lapsing of an agreement in December 2020.

Malaysia paid more than S$102 million in compensation to Singapore for the terminated project.

On Monday, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a release that Mr Wong had called on Mr Ismail Sabri and the two "reaffirmed the substantive and broad-based cooperation shared by Malaysia and Singapore".

Both welcomed the "good" progress made on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link Project, which is slated to start service at the end of 2026.

Mr Wong then reiterated Mr Lee's invitation to Mr Ismail Sabri to visit Singapore for the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat, said the PMO.

"Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and Deputy Prime Minister Wong looked forward to Singapore and Malaysia working together for the continued mutual benefit of both countries, including in new areas of cooperation in green and digital economies," the release added.

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong inspecting Malaysia's Ministry of Defence Guard of Honor on Sep 5 2022 during an official visit to Malaysia. (Photo: MCI)

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) also said in a separate release on Monday that Mr Wong was hosted to dinner on Sunday by his Malaysian finance minister counterpart Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

They exchanged views on the challenges and opportunities for Singapore and Malaysia in the face of global economic headwinds and geopolitical developments, said MOF.

On Monday, Mr Wong met the governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

"They discussed how Singapore and Malaysia can strengthen financial cooperation in many areas, including sustainable finance, cross-border digital payments, combatting scams, and regional financial stability," MOF said in its release.

Mr Wong also inspected the Malaysian Defence Ministry's Guard of Honour, and later met Malaysian Senior Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

MOF said they discussed ways to further enhance cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia, as well as within ASEAN.

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (centre), with his wife Ms Loo Tze Lui on his right, meets Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and his spouse Johanna Raja Arshad (first from left) on Sep 4, 2022. (Photo: Malaysia's Ministry of Finance)
Source: CNA/jo(ta)

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