Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Malaysia Says It Will Axe High-Speed Railway to Singapore

Malaysia Says It Will Axe High-Speed Railway to Singapore

The Malaysian government is looking at how it might reduce the compensation it has to pay to Singapore if it decides to drop the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project.

Speaking to the media after chairing a Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya on Wednesday, Dr Mahathir said the decision behind Malaysia's withdrawal from the HSR deal was due to the project's high cost.

The project, valued by analysts at about RM50 billion, is out for tender and is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

Meanwhile, Mahathir also said that he has not informed Singapore formally of the cancellation of the project but assured that they will be informed.

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However, as for the HSR project, Tun Mahathir clarified that the government would revisit this project once Malaysia is in a better financial position.

The 350-kilometre bullet-train line from Singapore to Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur was expected to slash travel times to 90 minutes from the five or more hours by road today.

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"There are other development plans for the area, but the HSR Terminus would have been the jewel in the crown of the area", said National University of Singapore transport lecturer Lee Der Horng was quoted as saying by the Straits Times.

He estimated that Malaysia could cut nearly a fifth of its US$250 billion national debt and liabilities by scrapping such big projects.

On top of that, the prime minister announced that while the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be officially abolished on 1st June this year, the Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be implemented on 1st September 2018.

The huge debt is partly due to a massive corruption scandal at the 1MDB state investment fund set up by Najib that led voters to abandon him, and sparked investigations in the USA and several other countries. Breaking the BN's six-decade long monopoly, Mahathir beat his one-time protégé Najib Razak and became the world's oldest head of government.

Police have raided Najib's home and other properties linked to him, seizing hundreds of expensive designer handbags and luggage stuffed with cash, jewellery and other valuables.

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