SINGAPORE: Singapore is willing to consider proposals Malaysia may have about reviving the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project on a “clean slate”.
Malaysia and Singapore signed bilateral agreements for the 350km project in late 2016 which would have, when completed in 2026, reduced travel time between Kuala Lumpur and the island republic to 90 minutes.
The railway project was axed on Jan 1, 2021, with Malaysia having to pay Singapore RM320 million in compensation as part of its obligations under the agreement.
It was later reported that Singapore refused to accept Putrajaya’s proposal to remove the HSR’s systems supplier and network operator, which was to have been accountable to both countries.
Noting a push by certain quarters in Malaysia to revive the project, Singapore’s second minister for foreign affairs, Maliki Osman, said the city-state stands ready to look at “any proposal” Malaysia might have.
“We have articulated that. If you ask me when, I do not know,” he told Malaysian media personnel on a visit here recently.
“We are waiting for any proposal that might come from Malaysia and we are prepared to look at it on a clean slate.
“(We are) not looking at the previous (proposal) at all, (but) looking at what are the (other) proposals and what could be the possible things that Malaysia would want to consider.”
In November 2021, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the republic was open to any new proposal from Malaysia on the HSR project.
Asked whether Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had raised the issue during his one-day official visit to Singapore on Jan 30, Maliki said he was unable to recall.
“But we have articulated that if there is any interest, please do give us a proposal,” he said.