According to China news agency Xinhua, the Malaysian development of a high speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore could be attributed to China, considered as a forerunner. On the railway bid, China is facing competitors from France, Japan and South Korea among others. The story was reported last Sunday by local newspaper, the Sunday Star.
A series of recent investment by Chinese state-owned companies have helped to lay the ground for the bid for the 350 km high-speed railway, according to the Sunday Star, a Malaysian English newspaper.
In March, China Railway Group Limited (CREC), one of China’s largest state-owned companies, announced to invest US$2 billion to build its regional headquarter in Bandar Malaysia, the area where the proposed High Speed Rail Terminal is due to built in Kuala Lumpur.
The announcement came three months after CREC’s successful bid with its Malaysian joint-venture partner in December to acquire 60 percent of the equity in the Bandar Malaysia project.
One of the advantages of the Chinese side is the experience of working with Malaysia on the latter’s regular railway system and light rail transit projects, according to the Star.
Chinese companies have supplied about 75 to 80 percent of the locomotives and coaches and related equipment to Malaysia. China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) already built a manufacturing center for Southeast Asia in Malaysia.
Despite being a late comer in high-speed railway, China has developed the most cost-effective rail system in the world, thanks to China’s research and development on major train projects and super lengthy tracks, explained to the Star newspaper Goh Bok Yen, a well-known transportation planning consultant. However, Goh warned that the deal was far from being donel as the project remains in an early stage.
The governments of Malaysia and Singapore are expected to finalize the commercial model and procurement approach of the project by this year. China is so far involved in the development of high speed or semi-high speed train lines in Indonesia, Lao PDR and Thailand.