PETALING JAYA: Former prime ministers, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin, have been named as defendants in a lawsuit over the cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project.
According to a statement of claim filed on Dec 30, Hatta Sanuri alleged that Mahathir was negligent and had committed tort of misfeasance in public office when deciding to postpone the project when leading the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in 2018.
Hatta claimed that the Malaysian government and all Malaysians had to then pay as much as RM46 million in compensation to Singapore.
He alleged that Muhyiddin was also negligent and had committed tort of misfeasance in public office when his administration terminated the project on Jan 1, 2021, with Malaysia having to pay Singapore RM320 million in compensation as part of its obligation under the bilateral agreement.
Hatta also named former economic affairs minister Mustapa Mohamed, former transport minister Wee Ka Siong, and the government as defendants.
He claimed that 70,000 potential high-paying jobs from the project, the potential RM70 billion in returns, as well as over RM366 million in compensation to Singapore, were among the losses suffered by all Malaysians following the cancellation of the project.
He said the cancellation also resulted in the loss of foreign investors’ confidence.
Hatta is seeking declarations that the cancellation of the project is null and void and that the defendants had committed the tort of misfeasance in public office when paying out the compensation of RM366 million to Singapore, restitution of the compensation sum paid, as well as damages and compensation amounting to RM1 million to each Malaysian citizen over the delay in constructing the HSR.
Malaysia and Singapore first inked a bilateral agreement on the project on Dec 13, 2016, but terminated the project on Jan 1, 2021 after several delays.
The project, which involves 350km of development, would shorten the travelling time from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to a mere 90 minutes.