Envoy: Japan has good chance of winning HSR tender

HSR 00KUALA LUMPUR: Japan believes it stands a good chance of winning the tender for the Kuala Lumpur–Singapore High-Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR) project, despite expected strong competition from its closest rival, China.

In an interview with local business radio station, BFM, today, Japan’s ambassador to Malaysia Makio Miyagawa said the country was offering its best HSR proposal and technology to both Malaysia and Singapore.

Citing the Shinkansen, or bullet train, he said the longest serving HSR system in Japan had not experienced any fatal accidents, since starting operations in 1964.

“The system is also in the process of being adopted by India, Thailand and the United States, while already operational in Taiwan,” he said.

Miyagawa said Japan had no intention of monopolising the benefits arising from the establishment of the KL-SG HSR.

“Japanese industry players are very happy to cooperate with their Malaysian peers, to ensure the project benefits both parties.

“We would also like to intensify human capital development alongside the transfer of technology to Malaysia and Singapore, and this also enhances our chances of winning the bid for the KL-SG HSR,” he added.

Last November, MYHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd, called for the tender to appoint the project delivery partner for the 350km project.

Estimated to cost between RM50 billion and RM60 billion, the KL-SG HSR is projected to start operations around 2026.

As for the third Mass Rapid Transit (MRT3) project, which is estimated at between RM35 billion and RM40 billion, Miyagawa said Japan’s industry players were currently studying it.

“We feel this is a very important infrastructure venture for Malaysia to avoid the middle-income trap as well as to reduce the problem of traffic jams and energy consumption,” he said.

The tender for the MRT3 was opened to both local and foreign firms in November last year and the 40km Circle Line is expected to be completed by 2025.

On the halal sector, Miyagawa said it was necessary for Japan to have good input and investments from Malaysia to be more Muslim-friendly ahead of the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.

“This is one area of cooperation suggested by Prime Minister Najib Razak to our Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the former’s visit to Japan in 2016.

“Malaysia has offered to become the halal industry adviser to Japan and both governments have been working very closely on this segment,” he said.