Malaysia Might Reconsider Big Projects Including High Speed Train Link to Singapore

Malaysia, Singapore, high speed train, rail

The new Malaysian government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sent out alarm signals due to the country’s abyssal debt.This could mean a slowdown, a scale-down or eventually the cancellation of some of the mega infrastructure projects launched by the previous government, including the East Coast Rail Link and the High Speed Train to Singapore.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed that Malaysia’s debt is above RM1 trillion (US$251 billion), major contributing factors being debts from the Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB) as well as mega projects approved by the previous government.

Malaysia official news agency Bernama reported that the newly-established Council of Eminent Persons (mostly experienced Malaysians involved in economic affairs) found that the actual cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) should not exceed a total investment of RM55 billion (US$13.8 billion).  However, according to CEP Chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin, the total real cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project would be closer to RM66 billion if not more if interest rates are being taken into consideration.

They are similar concerns regarding the cost of the future high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (HSR). The massive project was inked back to 2016 and officially launched last year by both Malaysia and Singapore governments is supposed to represent a total investment of RM50 billion (U$12.4 billion).
A decision on mega-projects like the 350 km long Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) will be made “very soon”, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday. The project is likely to be a successful operation in the long term as it would cut the traveling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, from city centre to city centre.
According to OAG data, the air route Kuala Lumpur-Singapore was last year the busiest in the world in terms of frequencies with over 30,500 flights, equivalent to 84 flights per day served by seven airlines. The route accommodated last year over four million passengers.