Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Malaysia to axe HSR

Malaysia to axe HSR

We will make no money at all from the operation.

"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110 billion and will not earn us a single sen.

We have to talk with Singapore about dropping that project", said the 92-year-old premier.

Mahathir had previously said there were high financial penalties for pulling out of the project and Malaysia would try to find out how it could reduce those costs.

Alongside the HSR, former prime minister Najib also planned to launch the East Coast Rail Link project, with a contract value of RM60 billion (S$20 billion).

Meanwhile, Mahathir also said that he has not informed Singapore formally of the cancellation of the project but assured that they will be informed.

A spokesperson added: "We look forward to further developing the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail under the new Malaysian Government as an opportunity to accelerate inclusive growth and maximise socio-economic benefits for the seven cities along the [high-speed rail] corridor as well as improve living standards for all Malaysians". "If we break the agreement, we have to pay a very large sum of money", the prime minister told The Edge.

Under the terms of a bilateral agreement signed by Mahathir's predecessor, Mr Najib Razak, and Singaporean prime minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong in December, the two states are legally committed to construct the link.

Upon its targeted completion in 2026, the railway would be expected to cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes.

On May 2, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim said Dr Mahathir was being probed under the controversial new law over his statement alleging that a private jet he was to board was sabotaged.

Singapore's government did not immediately have any comment on Dr Mahathir's reported vow to scrap the project.

He estimates that Malaysia could cut nearly a fifth of its $250 billion national debt and liabilities by scrapping such big projects.

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