This was an earlier article on High Speed Rail KL – SG when it was first announced that it should be scrapped. (HSR) Scrapping the High-Speed Rail: It’s not beneficial.’ It was then reported by many media that if it’s cancelled, then Malaysia would have to pay compensation as per the agreement for HSR between Malaysia and Singapore. Then, recently, there was another one on an alternative plan to the HSR. A much cheaper alternative at the expense of time. Please refer to the article here: 40 minutes extra, RM50 billion lower. Alternative HSR plan. Viable? What’s not highlighted was Singapore’s response to the potential cancellation. The main reason that Singapore has not responded formally to this announcement because it has not received a formal response from Malaysia on the HSR cancellation.
According to Singapore’s Transport Minister, a diplomatic note was sent to Malaysia on June 1 “to seek immediate clarification on Malaysia’s position”. He added that public statements made by the Malaysian Ministers, and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad – through various press interviews – on the termination of the project “have not been followed through with any official communication to us”. Full article in businesstimes.com.sg here. He also shared in the Singapore Parliament that Singapore has already spent S$250m (RM745 million) on HSR project and by December, the total would be S$290 million (RM864 million) exceeded S$250 million”. Mr Khaw said the expenditure included land acquisition, setting up of an infrastructure company – SG HSR Pte Ltd – and the formation of a team of more than 100 specialists in the company “to build, own, fund and maintain the HSR civil infrastructure in Singapore”.
He also pointed out, “Because the costs that we have incurred will add to the total amount of compensation, it is in Malaysia’s own interest to officially inform us of its position on the HSR Project early, to minimise the amounts involved.” Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also told the House that if Malaysia were to terminate the HSR project, Singapore will deal with the question of compensation from for costs incurred in accordance with the binding agreement signed with Malaysia and international law. He said, “The Singapore government has a duty to safeguard public funds by recovering these costs.” He also said that he has highlighted this consideration to Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd Azmin Ali “when he called me on June 6”. Please do refer to this article in businesstimes.com.sg for full details of all the facts numbers quoted by both the ministers. Will continue following.
written on 9 July 2018
Next suggested article: Focus on the new demand, not just the existing. That’s the key to HSR’s attractiveness.