PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has defended the high-speed rail (HSR) project from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, saying it will advance the country’s development.
He dismissed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that the HSR was unnecessary because the distance between the two cities was “too short”.
“It’s a good thing Mahathir isn’t Indonesia or Thailand’s prime minister because their HSR projects, which have been approved, are much shorter,” he said in a Facebook post.
Najib said the distances of the HSR projects in Indonesia and Thailand were 142km from Jakarta to Bandung and 253km from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, respectively.
He pointed out that the HSR line between KL and Singapore would span 350km.
“Mahathir doesn’t seem to understand that the KL-Singapore aviation sector is one of the busiest in the world. Demand is high and the HSR between the two cities will be profitable,” he said.
The Pekan MP said the project would further develop southern states in the peninsular and boost the tourism sector, as Singapore was an international aviation hub.
The HSR electric train would also reduce air pollution and reduce fares, he added.
“Unfortunately, Mahathir seems to be more inclined to focus our resources on the third national and flying car projects,” he said.
Najib was responding to Mahathir, who blamed him for agreeing to “silly agreements” and “overpriced projects” during his tenure, resulting in the country lagging behind its neighbours.
The Pejuang chairman told Najib to ask Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob why Malaysia was still lagging behind its neighbours, now that Umno was in power.
Last week, Najib said the country was lagging behind its neighbours and blamed it on the Pakatan Harapan government’s decision to call off many projects. He had claimed the cancellations were politically motivated and done out of spite.