Najib: KL-S'pore high-speed rail MOU to be inked in mid-2016
MALAYSIA will sign a memorandum of understanding with Singapore on the construction of a high-speed rail (HSR) connecting the Republic to Kuala Lumpur (KL) in the middle of the year, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day annual Invest Malaysia conference held in KL's Shangri-La Hotel, he signalled that the HSR project is certain to proceed, The Star daily reported.
Mr Najib and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong agreed to go ahead with the project at a meeting in early 2013. However, construction did not commence last year as originally planned.
Mr Najib yesterday placed the HSR in the context of the 11th five-year Malaysia Plan, which kicks off this year, saying the link is part of the government's effort to bring long-term benefits to Malaysians.
"The HSR link to Singapore; the Pan Borneo Highway; the MRT and LRT; the Pengerang (petroleum complex project) in Johor - they are all still going ahead... we need them," Mr Najib said, stressing that these are not grandiose projects for show, but part of Malaysia's future.
He gave assurance that these projects would not be affected by the government's need to cut spending in response to the drop in crude oil prices.
Putrajaya had structured the reduction in expenditure in such a way that it would not affect public service delivery, he told the audience.
When completed - likely no earlier than 2023 - the HSR, with speed projected to be about 250kmh, is expected to slash travel time between Singapore and KL to 90 minutes.
Currently, it takes up to eight hours by train and about four hours by road to cover the 315km between the two cities.
The project, called the southern corridor HSR in Malaysia, is one of the country's Entry Point Projects that aim to improve the economic dynamism of KL, the New Straits Times pointed out yesterday.
According to Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission, routes related to the southern corridor HSR have seen strong growth in passenger kilometre in recent years, with the number hitting 7.45 million in 2011.
A passenger-kilometre is performed when a passenger is carried 1km.