I read some news online about the High Speed Rail (HSR) having two services. One is direct while another is with transit stops. In fact many were sharing and I think the general consensus is that this is a good plan. I personally also agree that there should be options too. In fact, if there are no options, I would prefer one with stops. If there are no stops, I think the benefit of the HSR to different Malaysian cities would be much lower. In that case, I am personally not keen on such a service. Before we continue debating however, today the Singapore Transport Ministry issued a statement as follows: “The plan to have two services plying the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) route, one direct service and another with transit stops, remains in discussion, as both sides consider the project’s “commercial and operating models, including the possibility of two different services.”
The earlier report from The Edge said that the Chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal of MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd had talked about stakeholders “envisioning to start with two services — one that will go directly to Singapore, and another that will stop with transit services in Bandar Malaysia, Seremban, Malacca, Muar, Batu Pahat and Nusajaya, and then (across the Causeway to) Singapore”. Total time to be taken for the journey with stops from one end to the other would be 2 hours while the direct one would be just 90 minutes. All these would also depend on customs and immigration clearance.
Just a few months ago, Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority jointly launched a request for information (RFI) exercise to test public perception, industry opinion and gauge market interest in the rail project. According to Singapore, the study has been completed and both countries are studying the feedback thoroughly. The result would be used “to improve the project’s commercial and operating models and procurement approach”. As for the talk about the cost being near to RM70 billion, this has already been refuted by the MyHSR CEO as merely “speculation.”
For those waiting to buy in Iskandar when this HSR is confirmed, I seriously believe that the game changer, especially for Iskandar will not be coming from this HSR. It will have to come from better links between Iskandar and Singapore. The reduction of travelling period to just 40 minutes would increase the demand for Iskandar properties tremendously. Today, many Malaysians working in Singapore is paying through their nose for the room rentals in Singapore and if they have a choice would definitely be more than happy to exchange the S$800 room rental into monthly mortgage for a bigger and better place, including even a condominium with full facilities or a landed property. Today, there is no such choice because the travelling time during peak hours is nothing lesser than 1.5 hours. Not many are this “crazy.” Well, I still do not own anything in Iskandar yet.
written on 5 Jan 2016
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