PETALING JAYA: Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali yesterday continued discussions with Singapore on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, the fate of which remains in the air after Putrajaya’s decision to defer it amid concerns over cost.
Azmin, who met with Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan over the project earlier this month, said they had held a “thorough and detailed discussion” on the matter.
“We are optimistic of a win-win resolution soon,” he said in a Facebook post accompanied by a picture of him shaking hands with Khaw.
There have been doubts about whether the 350km rail project, started by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, would proceed after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government came to power following the May 9 general election.
The main concern is over the cost of the project, with the PH government claiming it had inherited RM1 trillion in national debts.
Azmin previously estimated that the project would cost RM110 billion, instead of between RM54 billion and RM74 billion estimated by the BN administration.
If Malaysia cancels the rail project, agreed to on Dec 13, 2016, it will have to pay penalties. Singapore has reportedly already spent S$250 million (RM743 million) on the project.
Putrajaya initially announced that the HSR project would be cancelled, but said later that it would be deferred.
The project was slated for completion in 2026.