High Speed Rail to Come to the Malay Peninsula

Malaysia and Singapore recently announced that they have agreed to push back the scheduled 2020 completion date of a high-speed rail project that will connect the two countries. This is a reflection of the business models needed to be put in place in order to fund and operate, as well as a recognition about the sophistication of the technology needed.

Malaysian Premier Minister Najib Razak and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the initial deadline “may need to be re-assessed given the scale and complexity of the project.” A joint statement issued in Singapore said both leaders “look forward to further progress on this game-changing, iconic project, which will boost connectivity, facilitate travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, enhance business links and improve people-to-people ties.”

Meanwhile on a state visit to Malaysia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang committed the Chinese government to support a consortium bidding for this project. “China is experienced in infrastructure construction, especially the high speed railway construction, which, through large-scale construction and operation, is advanced, safe, reliable, inclusive and of a competitive price,” said Li during a meeting with Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar, chairman of the Malaysian Land Public Transportation Commission.

Government officials oin both Singapore and Malaysia have said that a new deadline for the completion of the project would be announced at the end of the year. The rail link which has been planned since 2013 is expected to allow people to travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes.