HSR Back on Track if Cost Drastically Cut

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Putrajaya may revive the Malaysia-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) if the project cost can be lowered significantly, Lim Guan Eng has said.

In an interview with Straits Times, the finance minister said the 350km project itself “made sense” but indicated that the Mahathir administration is delaying the HSR due to its “exorbitant” cost for the Malaysian portion, estimated at RM110 billion currently.

However, Lim said the government has received alternative offers to halve the project cost.

Ariffin Jamar/ST

“We don’t know whether that’s serious… (but) that means the whole thing was way overpriced and that raises more questions,” he told the Singapore daily in an interview published today.

But Lim said no formal proposals have been made.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in May that his Pakatan Harapan government would seek to cancel the HSR, which was agreed on by the previous Barisan Nasional government in 2016, because it was just too expensive right now.

The Mahathir administration previously disclosed that Malaysia is facing a whopping RM1 trillion in debts and liabilities.

However, the Malaysian government is yet to submit a full notice regarding the cancellation to Singapore, and has not replied to a Singaporean diplomatic note on the matter sent last month.

The Singapore government has said that in the event of a cancellation, it would seek to the recoup more than RM700 million in compensation from Malaysia for costs it has incurred. – Malay Mail