High-speed rail service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore delayed

3 Sep 18

Singapore has agreed to the Malaysian government’s request to postpone the development of a high-speed rail service by two years to allow the latter’s finances to improve.

A legally binding agreement signed two years ago stated that if the project was deferred or cancelled either party would pay a fine as compensation to the other.

But the Malaysian economic affairs minister Azmin Ali has confirmed that Singapore was willing to waive this penalty because the line is being delayed not scrapped, local media reported.

“The Singapore government has accepted our view to postpose the project to a later date when the economy improves,” Azmin said.

Singapore has already said, in July, it would seek to recover over $250m in costs the country incurred to date should Malaysia cancel the project.

The $27bn project is supposed to cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes and was set to be completed by 2026.

But the new Malaysian government, elected in May, was cautious to proceed with the project, as well as other major infrastructure initiatives, after it discovered that national debt had ballooned to over a trillion ringgit.

The project has been postponed at no penalty to 31 May 2020.

Azmin also said that the project would need to be affordable.

He said: “We want to continue with this project because it will bring good to both countries.

“However, over the course of the postponement we will discuss ways to reduce the cost.”

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