KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 1): Malaysia and Singapore have decided to terminate the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project as both countries could not reach an agreement on several changes that the Malaysian government proposed.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the announcement in view of the expiry of the suspension period of the HSR project on Dec 31, 2020 (yesterday).

“In light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy, the government of Malaysia had proposed several changes to the HSR project. Both governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.

“Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions resulting from the termination of the HSR agreement,” said the statement, released in the first morning of the new year.

The estimated cost of the construction of the HSR project was last quoted to be around RM60 billion, compared with its original price tag of RM110 billion.

The termination confirms The Edge’s article titled "Malaysia to go it alone with HSR project, pay RM300m compensation to Singapore — source". 

It is understood that Malaysia is required to pay RM300 million in compensation as a result of the termination of the HSR project that would have linked Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Said to be among the changes proposed by the Malaysian government was changing the alignment to link the HSR to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). 

It is believed that Malaysia would likely be undertaking the project with a new alignment stretching from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, as opposed to the previous plan to link the capitals of the two countries — one of the busiest flight routes in the world.

The project was first announced in September 2010 by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has been convicted of several crimes related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) former unit SRC International Sdn Bhd. The infrastructure project was slated for completion in 2026.

The proposed 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project was put on hold after the change of government in Malaysia due to high cost.

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