High-Speed Rail to Singapore may be back but scaled down

An exhibition on the proposed High-Speed Rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project may be revived with a scaled-down version, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

He said the government wants to build the track but it needs to review the cost.

“We will go ahead but we need to find out the best suitable speed,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony between Putrajaya and a consortium led by a Chinese company to revive the multi-billion ringgit Bandar Malaysia project in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur today.

Mahathir said it is not necessary to have a rail network that runs at 400km per hour. With that speed, it may reach Alor Star in no time, he said in a jest.

He said the HSR project is expensive and it needs to be “scaled down and adjusted” to reduce the cost.

The HSR project was announced by then prime minister Najib Razak in September 2010, and expected to be completed by 2026, after the Singapore government agreed to it.

After Pakatan Harapan won the last general election, Mahathir initially announced that the project would be scrapped. However, during a visit to Japan in June 2018, he said the project was not scrapped but merely postponed due to the high cost.

Under the original plan, travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will be reduced to 90 minutes. The line will be 350km long and there will be several stops in the southern states ending at Jurong East in Singapore.