PUTRAJAYA (Dec 13): The agreement on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) was signed between Malaysia and Singapore today.
When completed, the HSR will slash travel time between KL and the island republic from over five hours by road to 90 minutes.
The 350km bullet-train line will "transform" the way the two do business, the countries' leaders said at the deal signing in Putrajaya, AFP reported today.
"I know people are excited about it," Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, adding the project would "open a new landscape in terms of bilateral relations".
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the rail link as a "marquee project" that will "transform the way we do business".
The deal was signed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
Najib and Lee, who were attending the 7th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat here, witnessed the signing ceremony.
The price tag of the mega project is estimated to be as high as US$15 billion (RM67 billion) and is expected to be completed in 2026.
The trains will run at a top speed of more than 300kph.
The rail proposal has already sparked interest among major Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean rail firms.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the leaders of the two countries will not compromise on border security aspects in relation to the KL-Singapore HSR.
Najib said both countries had found ways to strike the right balance between being passenger friendly without overlooking security issues for the HSR.
"We have found the proper solutions. There will be three common customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities. These will monitor movement of people.
"We believe it is a solution which is workable. It is passenger-friendly and at the same time does not compromise on the security aspects. I think we have found the right balance between the two," he said at a joint press conference with Lee here today.
Lee said there was a need to make the Malaysia-Singapore border safe and secure, Bernama reported.
"There is no need to close down the Malaysia-Singapore border due to security problems. We need to manage the problem with close cooperation from agencies on both sides,” he said at the same event.
Both governments will take responsibility for developing, constructing and maintaining the civil infrastructure and stations located in their respective countries.
The two countries have also agreed that the HSR will have eight stations, with terminals in Bandar Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Singapore, and six intermediate stations in Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri.
All stations will be designed to integrate with the local public transport systems to ensure seamless connectivity.
To facilitate swift and seamless travel, both governments also agreed to co-locate the CIQ facilities at three locations, namely Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Kuala Lumpur, so that international-bound passengers will only need to undergo CIQ clearance by both Malaysia and Singapore authorities at the point of departure.