Singapore and Malaysia signed the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High-Speed Rail Bilateral Agreement (BA) in 2016. Construction of the HSR Project was subsequently suspended, from September 2018 to 31 December 2020, at Malaysia’s request following a change of government in Malaysia.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had met Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Mohd Yassin via videoconference on 2 December 2020 to review the status of the HSR Project, including changes proposed by Malaysia to the HSR Project.
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said: “The Government of Malaysia and the Government of Singapore 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 Dec 31, 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. 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 Dec 31, 2020.”
The MOT said in a media release that Malaysia will compensate Singapore for costs already incurred by Singapore in fulfilling its obligations under the HSR BA in accordance with the Parties’ agreement.
“Our relationship with Malaysia is deep and multi-faceted, and we look forward to continued good relations and close cooperation with Malaysia for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries,” MOT said in the media update on the HSR Project.
The HSR was slated to have seven stations and would have cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes, compared with over four hours by car and about five hours end-to-end by air.