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HSR to resume if costs cut considerably

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PETALING JAYA (July 11): The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) may be resumed if costs can be significantly lowered, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

In an interview with the Straits Times, he shared that numerous parties have suggested that the cost of the multibillion-ringgit mega project can be halved, underscoring the project’s bloated budget, but no formal proposals on cheaper alternatives have been made

Lim stressed that the government was only delaying the HSR because of the high cost of the Malaysian part of the 350km-line, which is estimated to be as much as RM110 billion, as the project itself had merit.

Malaysia has not notified Singapore on the cancellation of the project yet, nor has it replied to a diplomatic note on the issue which was sent last month.

Singapore is seeking compensation of over RM700 million for costs incurred should the project be cancelled.

An op-ed in the Singaporean daily published yesterday said Malaysia’s “dithering” over the project is affecting Jurong Lake district’s urban redevelopment plans, among others.

The HSR is one of the mega-projects in the crosshairs of the Pakatan Harapan administration which had pledged to stop or review expensive infrastructure developments that cost billions of ringgit.

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