High-Speed Rail project suspension gets final extension

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Singapore has agreed to further extend the suspension of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project linking it and Kuala Lumpur for seven months, till the year end.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post yesterday that Malaysia's Senior Minister Azmin Ali wrote to him to ask for the extension to discuss Malaysia's proposed changes to the project.

"As any project change requires our agreement, the extended suspension will allow both countries to assess the changes that Malaysia has in mind," he said.

"In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, we have agreed to a final extension of the suspension period to Dec 31, 2020," he added.

"This should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes," said Mr Khaw.

In a separate statement, Mr Azmin said both governments have agreed to resume discussions "in the near future" which "will encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects of the project".

The announcements came on the same day as the deadline to decide on the project's fate, after both countries agreed to suspend it for about two years in September 2018.


The decision had pushed the completion date for the 350km rail line from end-2026 to January 2031.

In response to media queries, Singapore's Ministry of Transport confirmed that Malaysia's government had informed Singapore it would like to propose some changes to the HSR project and requested the seven-month extension.

"Singapore continues to believe that the HSR project is a mutually beneficial project that will strengthen the connectivity and people-to-people ties between our two countries," it said.

"We look forward to receiving Malaysia's formal proposal on the changes to the HSR project soon, so that both sides can begin discussion immediately," added the ministry.