PM: Let’s improve Malaysia’s existing rail system before building HSR to Singapore

Yiswaree Palansamy And Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad visits a booth during the MARIC: Moving the Rail Industry Forward exhibition in Cyberjaya April 16, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

CYBERJAYA, April 16 — Malaysia’s transport sector can do without the proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for now, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister explained that the infrastructure project is nice but not “necessary” as its development benefits only a few states between the two capital cities.

“For Malaysia at the moment, a high-speed train is not really necessary, especially as it is only within Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

“So we will not build the high speed train yet, but we will want to improve the quality of service given by our railway system, and that has been done to some extent, by double tracking and electrification,” he told a forum attended by local railway experts and companies here.

The HSR is expected to cover the 300 km between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and cut travel time between the two to just 90 minutes.

After winning the general election last year, the Mahathir administration indicated that it was not keen to pursue this and suggested the HSR will be cancelled.

However, Malaysia later signed a supplementary agreement with Singapore on September 5, 2018, to defer the construction of the proposed HSR until May 31, 2020.

The Malaysia Rail Industry Corporation (MARIC) organised the forum today together with Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) at MIGHT Partnership Hub.

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