The High Speed Rail (HSR) project between Singapore and Malaysia has been terminated, after both countries failed to reach an agreement on changes sought by Malaysia due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The announcement was made in a joint statement by the prime ministers of both countries on Friday (January 1), following their meeting via videoconference on December 2, 2020 to review the status of the HSR project, including changes proposed by Malaysia.
‚ÄúIn light of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy, the government of Malaysia had proposed several changes to the HSR project,‚ÄĚ read the joint statement by the leaders.
‚ÄúBoth governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement.‚ÄĚ
Following the termination, Malaysia has to compensate Singapore for costs already incurred, said Singapore’s Transport Ministry.
Singapore and Malaysia had signed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR Bilateral Agreement in 2016. In September 2018, both parties agreed to postpone the construction of the HSR until May 2019.
In June 2020, Singapore‚Äôs then-transport minister, Khaw Boon Wan, announced that Malaysia had requested for another seven-month extension to allow both countries to discuss Malaysia‚Äôs proposed changes to the project. Both parties had also agreed then to a final extension of the suspension period to December 31.
The proposed rail link would have cut travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, as compared to over four hours by car.