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Deadline delayed for high-speed rail link

PETALING JAYA: Singapore and Malaysia have decided to postpone the 2020 deadline for the completion of a high-speed rail (HSR) link between the city state and Kuala Lumpur, said their prime ministers on May 5, reported The Edge Financial Daily citing a Reuters report.

Both parties cited the complexity of the project as a reason, and hoped to agree on a new timeline by year-end. The HSR link is expected to cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes.

“We looked at the original time-line of 2020, and think it is not really realistic,” said Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said the two countries agreed that bilateral issues related to the project will be settled by year-end.

The issues include cover management, and business and government participation.

Najib said the construction of the link would take five years, and its design and tendering process a year each.

The HSR link will terminate in Jurong East in Singapore, “a part of the island that the government has been keen to develop”, said Lee.

According to Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission, Malaysia has a proposed route running through five coastal cities for its portion of the line.

The original completion date of 2020 was announced in February 2013, but the estimated project cost was not revealed. The announcement of the collaboration reflected an ongoing improvement in ties between the neighbouring countries.

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