Singapore agrees to defer high-speed rail project to Kuala Lumpur

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The governments of Singapore and Malaysia have reportedly agreed to defer the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project. The two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct the railway, which would shorten travel time between the two cities from over four hours to 90 minutes, in July 2016, and jointly launched a tender for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of all rolling stock and rail assets, in December 2017.

Ahead of the tender deadline, in May the newly-elected Prime Minister of Malaysia announced that the project would not be going ahead, as the country can not afford it. He clarified in June that he was not seeking to cancel the project outright, but to postpone it.

The Transport Minister of Singapore is currently in discussions with the Economic Affairs Minister of Malaysia. How long the project should be deferred for is a key point to be negotiated. Last month, the Transport Minister disclosed that Singapore has already spent more than SGD250 million (US$183.2 million) on the project.

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