The transport minister of Malaysia has said that his government is looking to plan the resurrection of a high-speed rail link that connects Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. It is well to be noted that the project was agreed to be initiated in 2016 but had to be halted because of issues over costs in 2018.
The transport minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, had said that the Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had asked him to preside over this matter and also went on to confirm that the transport ministry was indeed open to private sector proposals.
According to Fook, the prime minister had mentioned that they are indeed open to any proposals, subject to the fact that they happen to be private investments. He further added that as such, there has been no revival decision for the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project as of yet, but they aren’t putting a stop to it.
It was only in February of this year that Maliki Osman, the deputy foreign minister of Singapore, was prepared to undertake any proposal that Malaysia had in mind pertaining to the project. The 350-km railway project was supposed to be completed by 2026 and would have, as expected, shortened the time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from 6.5 hours to just 90 minutes.
Apparently, the initial cost estimation of $17.4 billion later rose to $27.6 billion. The then-Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had even gone on record to say that such high costs would end up bankrupting the country.
The project was definitively shut down in January 2021, because of which Malaysia had to pay a compensation of $70 million to Singapore.