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SINGAPORE — The suspension of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project aimed at linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur will be extended to the end of this year.
“In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, we have agreed to a final extension of the suspension period to 31 December 2020,” said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a Facebook post on Sunday (31 May).
“This should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes,” he added.
Khaw noted that Malaysia’s Senior Minister Azmin Ali had written to him to request a seven-month extension to discuss his country’s possible changes to the project. Construction on the HSR project, which has been suspended since September 2018, was due to resume at the end of this month.
“(The) COVID-19 pandemic does inconvenience the discussions but tele-conferencing can largely overcome the difficulty. The key is joint commitment to the project’s vision and mutual trust,” said Khaw, adding both sides must be convinced that the changes do not “undermine the original intent of the project”.
“I remain optimistic that a HSR linking our two capitals will benefit both our peoples,” he added.
Separately, Azmin said in his own Facebook post that the governments of Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to resume discussions on the project “in the near future”.
He added that he had been asked by his country’s Cabinet to “lead the Malaysian team in the discussions with the Singapore Government on this project”.
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