KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed revived high-speed rail (HSR) project will only focus on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route for now, says transport minister Loke Siew Fook.
Loke was replying to former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin (PN-Pagoh), who asked about the government’s future plans for the project, which has yet to be officially revived.
Muhyiddin had said it would be viable to extend the project to Bangkok, adding that Thailand was developing its own HSR that can reach Peninsular Malaysia.
“At this stage, we will only focus on the Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (route),” Loke told the Dewan Rakyat.
“As for the Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok (route), it might be done in the second phase, which would incur a much higher capital expenditure than the one required for (the route heading to) Singapore.
“Even for the KL-Singapore route, I don’t think it will be easy for the private sector to fully fund the project. However, we are open to accepting suggestions that are submitted (to the government).”
Loke said the project’s Request For Information (RFI) process is ongoing. Once this process is completed and a proposal is selected, the Cabinet will be briefed on it.
“If the Cabinet agrees (on the proposal), we will discuss it with the Singaporean government,” he said.
In July, MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd (MyHSR Corp) reportedly extended the purchase of the project’s RFI documents throughout the concept proposal stage until Nov 15, due to overwhelming response and requests from industry players.
The railway project was axed on Jan 1, 2021, by the Perikatan Nasional-led government. Malaysia ended up having to pay Singapore RM320 million in compensation as part of its obligation under the bilateral agreement.
In March, Loke had said the unity government was open to reviving the project as long as it is not funded by the federal government.