S'pore-KL rail tender likely within a year
MALAYSIAN Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the tender for the coveted contract to design and build the high-speed rail (HSR) linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is likely to be called within a year, Malaysian media reported.
While attending a carnival in Alor Setar organised by the local division of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) on Saturday, he told the media that his ministry was looking forward to the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the HSR tomorrow with Singapore.
Earlier reports said the ceremony, to be held in Prime Minister Najib Razak's official residence in Kuala Lumpur, will be witnessed by the prime ministers of both countries.
"Once the signing is done, the authorities will prepare the tender documents. The tender will be called within a year's time," The Star daily quoted Mr Liow, who is the president of MCA, as saying.
"Many international companies have shown interest in the project and we welcome that. This is a very important and prestigious project because it is the first in Asean," he added.
"The Transport Ministry is giving its full support to the project," he said.
High-speed rail companies in China, Japan, South Korea, France and Germany, some backed by their governments, have expressed determination to land the contract.
Mr Liow said the project will generate economic development in both Malaysia and Singapore.
He named Seremban in Negeri Sembilan, Ayer Keroh in Malacca, Muar and Batu Pahat in Johor and Iskandar Puteri in Johor Baru as some of the areas that will benefit from the link.
It will bring plenty of development projects to cities and towns with stops along it, according to Mr Liow.
Sin Chew Daily reported last week that Malaysia's construction industry, which is forecast to decline in the coming years, desperately needs the HSR to perk it up again.
The proposed 350km-long double-track HSR line will terminate in the new township of Bandar Malaysia, at the edge of Kuala Lumpur, and in Singapore's Jurong East.
The link will cut travelling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared with more than four hours by car.
Its construction is estimated to cost between RM60 billion (S$20.2 billion) and RM65 billion.