Loke Urged To Investigate PN's Decision To Terminate KL-SG High Speed Rail

Former deputy transport minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said there should be a "thorough and transparent" investigation into why RM891 million in taxpayer money was squandered.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today & Meinhardt Singapore

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Transport Minister Anthony Loke has been urged to investigate the previous Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for its controversial decision to cancel the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project

The HSR, originally announced by former prime minister Najib Razak in 2010, aimed to cut down land travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to only 90 minutes.

Before the pandemic, the air route between the two cities was the busiest in the world.

Datuk Aziz Kaprawi, who served as deputy transport minister when the project was announced, cited numerous studies demonstrating how the project would have been beneficial to the people and the economy.

The 350km route, which was originally expected to be completed by 2026, would have significantly opened up economic opportunities for the localities surrounding the eight stations serviced along the way.

"I hope the new minister will investigate what [actually led to the HSR’s cancellation]," Aziz recently told Free Malaysia Today.

The railway project was terminated on 1 January 2021, with Malaysia having to compensate Singapore with a whopping RM320 million as part of its obligation under the HSR Bilateral Agreement

"There was a total lack of transparency [from the PN government]. What studies did [they refer] to in making their decision?" Aziz said.

"Was there an alternative [to the HSR that was] proposed or discussed by the [PN] Cabinet?"

He voiced hopes that Loke would uncover the real reason behind the HSR's cancellation, as it is a matter of public interest to be aware of the reason RM891 million in taxpayer money was squandered on the project.

Such a probe should be "thorough and transparent", the former deputy transport minister stressed.

"There must be accountability. Who benefitted from the cancellation of the KL-Singapore HSR? Why was such a stupid decision made?"

Former deputy transport minister, Datuk Aziz Kaprawi.

Image via Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

Najib's successor and former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad initially announced that the project would be postponed due to high costs on 12 June 2018

But after Pakatan Harapan (PH) was superseded by PN during the 2020 political crisis, Muhyiddin Yassin announced the project would be scrapped entirely in a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 1 January 2021.

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