Putrajaya’s delay has put rail projects in limbo, says S’pore minister

Singapore acting Transport Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

PETALING JAYA: Singapore has blamed Putrajaya for not coming up with new proposals for its two cross-border rail projects with Malaysia which it said are in limbo.

Its acting Transport Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said in Parliament today that Putrajaya had yet to send a proposal on how to proceed with the High-Speed Rail (HSR) rail project between the island republic and Kuala Lumpur, Straits Times reported.

Balakrishnan said Singapore had agreed to suspend the project for two years to May 31, 2020 at Malaysia’s request.

As part of the agreement, he said, Malaysia had remitted S$15 million to Singapore for “abortive costs” incurred due to the suspension.

“Malaysia has requested that during the suspension period, both sides discuss the way forward for the HSR project, with the aim of reducing costs.

“We have yet to receive any proposals from Malaysia on this,” he said.

Balakrishnan also said that the Rapid Transit System (RTS) – an extension of Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT line to Johor Baru – was likely to face further delays.

He said that both sides were supposed make a joint call to open a tender for the project but there had been a delay from Malaysia’s end.

“Singapore has been willing to engage Malaysia on its proposals for Malaysia’s joint venture partner for the RTS Link, or OpCo.

“Unfortunately, Malaysia has repeatedly delayed confirming its JV partner,” he said.

Noting that Putrajaya had asked for a deadline extension to March 31, Balakrishnan said the RTS project “is no longer on track” to commence by Dec 31, 2024 as scheduled.

The link was originally supposed to have been built by 2018.