JOHOR BAHRU (May 12): Several private Malaysian companies have expressed interest to the government to implement the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook (pictured) said.
The minister said the government, however, is still reviewing the implementation module for the project.
He said the matter was also discussed with his Singaporean counterpart S Iswaran, who wanted to know the latest status of the HSR project, during the bilateral meeting between Malaysia and Singapore held here on Thursday (May 11).
“There was a discussion about the development of HSR (at the bilateral meeting) and he (Iswaran) asked about its (HSR) status on our side.
“I have given feedback that the government’s position at this point is that we welcome the involvement of the private sector to implement this project,” he said at a joint press conference with Iswaran after visiting the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project at the Marine Viaduct here on Thursday.
He said the government is currently at the stage of gathering feedback and there are several private companies from Malaysia who are interested in implementing the project.
“Nevertheless, we need to review the implementation module, funding and so on,” he said.
Loke said Malaysia’s stance is to resume the HSR project with Singapore, which was terminated in 2021.
“The principle that has been clearly stated by the Malaysian government is that we welcome this project to be resumed but with private funding. That is our stance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iswaran said he had a good discussion with Loke, taking the opportunity to underscore Singapore’s readiness for HSR.
“We are ready to study any proposal to restart the HSR project. We are ready to work with the Malaysian government,” he said.
On Jan 1, 2021, Malaysia and Singapore announced the termination of the 350-kilometre HSR project as the two countries failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia before the project agreement expired on Dec 31, 2020.
On March 8 this year, Loke was reported to have said that Malaysia is open to any proposal to restore the implementation of the HSR project as long as it does not involve funding by the government.
He was quoted as saying that, as stated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim earlier, the government welcomed any proposal from the private sector that wished to continue the mega project.
On RTS Link, Loke said the project is on track with a progress level of 36%, including various components such as depots, stations, land lines and marine lines.
RTS Link is a four-kilometre-long shuttle service between Singapore at Woodlands North station and Malaysia at Bukit Chagar station here.
On the bilateral meeting, Loke said the meeting also discussed the addition of a new ferry service between Johor Bahru and Singapore, as well as Singapore’s request to increase the existing KTM Tebrau shuttle service.