Singapore, Malaysia to discuss study on high-speed rail link

Rachel Chang Straits Times 14 Sep 13;

SINGAPOREAN and Malaysian officials are due to go over a feasibility study on the proposed high-speed rail link with Kuala Lumpur when they meet next month.

A Ministry of Transport spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that "Singapore looks forward to Malaysia sharing its feasibility study" on the rail link that is targeted for completion in 2020.

The study has been undertaken by Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission, the authority in charge of the mega infrastructure project.

In July, Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri said in a Parliament sitting there that the report would include a detailed technical and engineering assessment as well as costs, financing, operations and economic benefits.

The link, first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in February, should cut down travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes, compared to over four hours by road.

Official negotiations between Singapore and Malaysia are expected to commence soon, although there have been conflicting reports in the Malaysian press about the Government's timeline for the project.

Bernama reported on Tuesday that the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission aims to wrap up negotiations with Singapore on the project by the third or fourth quarter of next year.

But The Star reported on Wednesday that its chief executive Mohd Nur Kamal said that "we are targeting to (complete the negotiations) somewhere between the third and fourth quarters of this year".

He has also been quoted as saying that tenders for the project will open next year.

Next month's meeting will be under the ambit of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Iskandar Malaysia, which has been tasked to look into the details of the project.