KL-Singapore high-speed rail briefing draws 400 players

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Singapore will begin to accept bids around December for an assets company to undertake the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR).

The privately-financed AssetsCo will, among other roles, design, build, finance and maintain all rail assets and rolling stock, including track, power supply, signalling and telecommunications.

The two nations hope to select developers for the joint HSR project by December next year. Once ready, in 2026, it will only take 90 minutes to travel the 350km HSR from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, and vice versa.

It is estimated to cost RM60 billion.

These and other information, such as procurement processes, were shared at a briefing by Malaysia’s MyHSR and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) which have been appointed by the two governments as infrastructure companies. They will design, build, finance and maintain the civil infrastructure and operate the eight stations within their respective territories.

About 400 people from 165 international and local companies attended the briefing on July 5 in Singapore.

Potential bidders present included firms from Japan, China, South Korea and Europe. Among them were Japan’s JR East and Sumitomo Corp and China Railway Signal & Communication, the world’s largest producer of rail traffic control systems.

Others reported to have attended the briefing include Germany’s Siemens, France’s Alstom and Spain’s Talgo.

The Nikkei Asian Review (NAR) reported that MyHSR and Singapore’s LTA gave an overview of the project, including indicative tender requirements and procurement processes. Participants were encouraged to form consortia to take part in the AssetsCo tender.

The report said priorities in procurement were also highlighted, with safety and security topping the list.

The briefing was followed by individual meeting sessions where attendees gave feedback on the indicative tender and technical requirements.

The NAR reported that while both sides had expressed a commitment to transparency and fairness in the bidding process, some were speculating that China had a lead, given its heavy investment in Malaysia, including some in the troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Around 90% of the length of the project sits within Malaysia.

The Straits Times (ST) quoted LTA chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping as saying: “Following the industry briefing, we will be calling the AssetsCo tender by the end of this year, and we look forward to receiving quality bids from various consortia.”

The ST quoted MyHSR chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal as saying: “Other tenders such as the Civil and Operating Company tenders will be developed according to the project timeline and announcements will be made in due course.”