I think the High Speed Rail (HSR) is a very important “connection”for Malaysia and Singapore. Let’s not debate on which country would have more benefits. Seriously, we need to look at a bigger picture. Both countries remain small by ASEAN standards. Today, we achieved a new milestone. An MoU was signed between both the countries today. Answering a question, Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong said, “HSR tender process would be carried out objectively with great transparency involving both Malaysia and Singapore. The structure has to be right. The execution has to be properly done. When we evaluate the tenders, it has to be objective, fair and transparent. So when we make the decision, we make sure we get the best value and the best choice for the project.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said, “The project will not only spur economic activities in the Klang Valley and Singapore, but will create multiplier effects along the rail alignment. It will create a very exciting future.” Do note that for a more binding bilateral agreement, it will be signed end of 2016. Tender is thus expected to start next year. The total cost is unknown because tenders have yet to start. I think for all the countries interested to be the main contractor, they would be following this extremely closely. Of course, this 2026 targeted commercial operations would mean that all earlier projections are now totally out of the window. Perhaps this date is more realistic.
Malaysia and Singapore achieved a total trade of RM190.6 billion for 2015. Singapore was alsoMalaysia’s second largest trading partner globally and largest trading partner among member countries of Asean. Nope, I still do not think we should buy any properties based on the HSR MoU. Just continue the usual evaluations and for the HSR plans, keep following so that it can form a small part of the decision to buy. Only use it as main reason when there are clearer plans on how the stations and the area around the stations along the route would be developed. Happy following, HSR is going to take a long time more.
written on 19 July 2016
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