Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan has told the government to come clean on the cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.
Mohamad, better known as Tok Mat, said this was because Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung’s explanation on the matter differed greatly from that of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Affairs) Mustapa Mohamed, who said the project was no longer feasible for Malaysia because of the impact of Covid-19.
Yesterday, Ong said in the Singapore Parliament that Malaysia’s proposal to remove the systems supplier and network operator of the HSR was the main sticking point that led to the collapse of the agreement.
Mohamad said that just two months ago, Putrajaya seemed intent on continuing with the project.
He said the sudden change in the government’s decision and the lack of transparency, including the amount of compensation that must be paid to Singapore, would erode investor confidence.
The cancellation of the project, he said, would have implications on the country’s economy and the development of areas along the proposed HSR route.
“If this project is continued without Singapore, it is no longer strategic. The government clearly does not have an overarching strategy in implementing megaprojects like these.
“But the priority now is transparency and accountability of the government. Because the project involves public funds, including compensating Singapore, the government should explain all the discrepancies in the statements it has issued and stop confusing the people.”
Yesterday, Transparency International Malaysia and the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism urged the government to reveal the cost of compensating Singapore.
Mohamad’s comments came after Mustapa said the government could not reveal the cost of compensation after cancelling the project as both countries were bound by a secrecy clause.
Still, he said, the government would discuss the matter with Singapore and try to get the republic’s approval to share information on the compensation. – FMT