Get in or get out, Singapore diplomatic czar tells Putrajaya over HSR

Bilahari Kausikan. (Youtube screengrab)

PETALING JAYA: One of Singapore’s most influential diplomats has lashed out at the Malaysian government’s apparent indecision on the future of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project linking both countries, despite Putrajaya’s announcement in late May that it was cancelling it.

Bilahari Kausikan, who until recently was Singapore’s ambassador-at-large who advises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Malaysia should make clear its decision on the project.

“I am sorry to be crude, but either s*** or get off the pot,” he said in a short Facebook posting, responding to Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali’s statement in the Dewan Rakyat today that Putrajaya could go ahead with the 350km rail project.

Kausikan, who previously served as Singapore’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, is frequently sought for his views on the country’s foreign policy.

The Pakatan Harapan government has accused the previous administration of hiding the real costs of the HSR project, saying it would cost Malaysia over RM110 billion, and not between RM55 billion and RM74 billion as claimed by Barisan Nasional.

Former prime minister Najib Razak today disputed the new figure, saying the amount could not be known until the tender is closed in December.

Singapore has said it will demand compensation if Malaysia cancels the project, saying it expected to incur costs of some S$300 million (RM889 million) by the end of the year.

Azmin will meet Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan at the end of this month.