PETALING JAYA: Subang MP Wong Chen has urged the government to disclose details of the agreement governing the High Speed Rail (HSR) project following news that Malaysia may have to pay Singapore a huge sum of money for cancelling the deal.
Speaking to FMT, Wong noted that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced the compensation figure as being in the region of “500 million” but hadn’t said whether it would be in US, Singapore or Malaysian currency. Mahathir told reporters yesterday that he himself had yet to find out what the sum was.
Wong voiced support for the decision to scrap the project, but said Malaysian taxpayers had the right to be informed of the agreement details, particularly the part concerning compensation.
He said some members of the public might oppose the cancellation because of the high compensation cost while others might support it because the cost of proceeding with it was also high. He spoke of an “illogical arrangement” under which Malaysia would have to bear “up to 95%” of the infrastructure cost.
He also said some Malaysians would be looking at what he referred to as the “timing issue” in relation to the One Belt One Road (Obor) initiative.
“If the HSR is to be part of Obor,” he said, “then we must wait for the Kunming-Bangkok-KL link to start before initiating the KL-Singapore line.”
MIDF Research head Redza Rahman said an option the government could consider was to delay embarking on the HSR project instead of cancelling it.
“Perhaps the government could negotiate the terms of postponing it,” he said.
He said the HSR would be beneficial to travellers but was not urgent. He noted that there was already a double-track rail service between Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur and an express service between Singapore and Bangkok.
The 350km HSR was supposed to have seven stops in Malaysia: Bandar Malaysia, Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri.