Malaysia’s new PM scraps Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail

01 June, 2018, 04:12 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Image via The Malaysian Reserve

But he said Malaysia will discuss the matter with Singapore. "That will be dropped", the 92-year-old was quoted as saying to the Financial Times. But as of now, the decision has been made to cancel the project.

The newly-elected government is looking to reduce its commitment to major projects in a bid to trim Malaysia's national debt.

He also said that the Permata Early Child Education and Care Programme would be moved from the Prime Minister's Department to the Education Ministry.

More recently, Dr Mahathir's announcement that Malaysia is pulling out of the widely anticipated KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project has contributed to talk that the strained relations Singapore and Malaysia shared before Mahathir retired and came back might return.

Some Singaporean netizens have expressed disappointment by Malaysia's plans to axe the deal but they also appear to be empathetic to the reasons. "So one of the ways, of course, is to do away with projects that are not beneficial to the country".

While Malaysia is working out how much it is should compensate her neighbour for pulling out, observers say the loss of the rail connection will have far-reaching consequences for Singapore.

The new government has said Najib - now being investigated over his role in the 1MDB financial scandal - had over leveraged the country by committing to too many infrastructure projects at the same time.

The government is scrapping the third mass rapid transit line (MRT3) project, which is estimated to cost up to RM40 billion to build, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

"Although the forfeited amount, for breaking the project agreement with Singapore, is not small to give up, it will speak volumes about Singapore".

In a separate press conference on Wednesday, transport minister Anthony Loke said the planned cancellation would be subject to negotiations with Singapore.

However, Koh still hopes the HSR would link Kuala Lumpur and the republic and be extended to Malaysia's northern city of Penang.

The new government has said it will review large-scale infrastructure projects, including Chinese investment, to cut costs after revealing that national debt and liabilities was over a trillion ringgit ($251 billion), or 80 percent of gross domestic product, taking into account government guarantees and other payments.

Construction of the 350km line was slated to begin next year, with operations slated to have commenced in 2026.

That project is slated to open by 2024 and is viewed as crucial in easing congestion in one of the world's busiest land checkpoints.



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