Technical, commercial consultants chosen to cut cost of HSR project

The 350km HSR line will reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Technical and commercial consultants have been appointed to review proposed design changes and identify options to cut costs for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

MyHSR Corp, which is managing the project, said that Malaysian engineering and project management firm Minconsult has been appointed the technical advisory consultant (TAC) and Ernst & Young as the commercial advisory consultant (CAC).

“MyHSR Corp and its TAC and CAC will now proceed to review the proposed changes to the KL-Singapore HSR Project.

“They will further identify cost reduction options for the Malaysian government,” said the statement, CNA news portal reported.

TAC will look into changes to the rail line alignment, stations and train maintenance facilities.

CAC will focus on identifying financing options and updating the ridership forecast.

The 350km HSR line proposes to reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, which may pose a challenge to existing air services.

After the Pakatan Harapan government took power in May last year, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to postpone construction of the HSR until end-May 2020, with Malaysia paying Singapore S$15 million (RM46 million) for costs incurred in suspending the project. The money was said to have been paid in January.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said recently the republic sees the HSR as a “good project”.

CNA reported MyHSR Corp’s CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal as saying that the appointment of the TAC and CAC is a big step forward to develop an affordable HSR project.

The previous BN administration had said that the HSR project would cost RM72 billion, but the PH government has said that the true cost is closer to RM110 billion.