KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 16): A total of 31 firms across seven local and international consortia have submitted concept proposals to MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd (MyHSR Corp) for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project (KL-Singapore HSR) by its deadline on Monday.

The submission of concept proposals follows the Request for Information (RFI) exercise launched in July 2023 to invite interested parties to deliver the project based on a public-private partnership initiative on the Design-Finance-Build-Operate-Transfer (DFBOT) model, MyHSR Corp said in a statement yesterday.

This follows the issuance of 37 RFI documents, as part of the July 2023 exercise, a MyHSR Corp spokesperson told The Edge later.

“The findings from the RFI evaluation will be presented to the Ministry of Transport and the Cabinet for deliberation,” said MyHSR Corp chairman Datuk Seri Haji Fauzi Abdul Rahman in the statement.

“If the response is positive, we will move on to the second phase with the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage to obtain detailed proposals from the selected consortia,” he added.

Earlier, Fauzi was quoted as saying to Berita Harian that MyHSR Corp has received interest from 37 transport-related firms globally.

Fauzi said that the firms sending the RFIs included several major transport firms from China and Europe, as reported by Berita Harian.

“So far, 37 of the world’s leading transport firms have sent RFIs to MyHSR (Corp), showing the commitment of those not only interested in implementing the HSR project in Malaysia but also completing the proposal with an interesting concept, including the use of the latest technology, in addition to stating the overall project cost,” he was quoted as saying.

MyHSR Corp later clarified that the agency had issued a total of 37 RFI documents as part of the July 2023 exercise.

Last week, a Kyodo News report, citing sources, claimed that Japanese companies withdrew from the HSR project due to its increasing risk without the financial support of the Malaysian government.

In response, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook affirmed that the HSR project remains unaffected despite Japanese firms stepping back from involvement in construction.

According to the Berita Harian report, Fauzi was quoted as saying that the MyHSR Corp had never received any RFIs from Japanese firms, despite reports claiming that some Japanese firms opted out of participating in the RFI process.

He emphasised that Japanese firms had never sent an RFI, expressing surprise at the alleged decision of Japanese firms to cancel plans involved in the HSR project.

However, Fauzi acknowledged that some Japanese transport firms attended the preliminary briefing held by MyHSR Corp in July 2023, during which he clearly stated that the project would be fully financed by the private sector.

The revival of the HSR project follows a near three-year lull since March 2021.

At that time, the Malaysian government and its Singaporean counterpart mutually called off the project after several years of prolonged suspension, following a government change in 2018.

Malaysia paid its Singapore counterpart S$102.8 million (RM320.27 million) for costs incurred in relation to the project after its termination then.

Following the project’s revival last year, several players that are huge in the rail business are understood to be in talks with potential partners to participate, The Edge reported in March 2023.

At that time, the companies were awaiting more clarity from the government. They include Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary-controlled MMC Corp Bhd; WCT Holdings Bhd, controlled by Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon; YTL Group; Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun-controlled Berjaya Group; and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), according to the report.

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