The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project has been officially terminated, according to a joint statement by the Prime Ministers of both countries on Friday morning, 1 January 2021
In the joint statement, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that their respective governments wish to provide an update on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project in view of the expiry of the suspension period of the HSR Project on 31 December 2020.
"In light of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy, the Government of Malaysia had proposed several changes to the HSR Project," the Singapore PM said.
"Both Governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR Agreement had lapsed on 31 December 2020," read the statement.
Both Malaysia and Singapore will now proceed with the "necessary actions"
"Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions, resulting from this termination of the HSR Agreement. Both countries remain committed to maintaining good bilateral relations, and cooperate closely in various fields, including strengthening the connectivity between the two countries," the joint statement stated.
Malaysia, however, has to compensate Singapore
According to the Singapore Ministry of Transport, the Malaysian government as to compensate Singapore for costs already incurred by Singapore in fulfilling its obligations under the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) Bilateral Agreement (BA) in accordance with the Parties’ agreement.
While the statement did not provide details about the compensation amount that the Malaysian government has to now pay Singapore, it was reported that it could cost the Malaysian taxpayers about RM300 million.
The amount was reported by The Edge Malaysia on 24 December 2020, citing a source.
The HSR project was announced by former PM Najib Razak in 2010
The project was aimed at cutting travel time between KL and Singapore to 90 minutes.
The 350km route was mapped to cut across four states in Malaysia, with plans to stimulate economies of the localities surrounding the eight stations serviced along the way (from Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to Jurong East in Singapore).
In May 2018, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stated that the KL-Singapore HSR project will be scrapped as it does not benefit us
"It's not beneficial. It's going to cost us a huge sum of money. We'll make no money at all from this arrangement," Tun Dr Mahathir had said, adding that it "will not earn us a single cent".