Singapore and Malaysia Sign High Speed Rail Project MoU

Singapore and Malaysia Sign High Speed Rail Project MoU :Singapore Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Singapore – Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) project on 19 July 2016.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witnessed the ceremony, held at Mr. Razak’s official residence in Sri Perdana.

Present were also the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman.
Lee Hsien Loong pointed to the obvious economic benefits that would come from being “next door to one another, one and a half hours away”.

Najib Razak shared Lee Hsien Loong’s optimism regarding the positive impact of the project on the economies of both countries. “You can do an initial study in terms of the multiplier effect that this project will bring to both countries in terms of increase in GNI, in terms of jobs. For example, we expect the creation of almost 30,000 jobs through the implementation of the HSR. And beyond the numbers, if you look in terms of the big picture, this project will bring about a tremendous change in terms of not only Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, but the towns in between: Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, Johor – all these towns along the way will see a new impetus in terms of their economic development”.

A joint statement released by Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that the MoU captures key points of agreement on the project, including technical parameters, commercial model, customs, immigration and quarantine clearance, safety and security matters, regulatory framework as well as project management.

First conceived in 2013, the 350 km line is expected to reduce travel time between Singapore and the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.
The project envisages the construction of a brand new rail line with dedicated tracks that will allow trains to travel at a maximum speed of 300 km/h.

The line will consist of eight stations, seven of which will be in Malaysia:

Kuala Lumpur (Bandar Malaysia)
Ayer Keroh
Batu Pahat
Iskandar Puteri
Singapore (Jurong East)
The date for start of operations has been postponed from 2020 to “around 2026”.

Three kinds of service will be offered by two different operators, to be nominated through an international tender process: OpCo International and OpCo Domestic.

OpCo International will run:

Non-stop express services from Kuala Lumpur’s Bandar Malaysia terminus to Singapore’s Jurong East Station
Cross-border shuttle services between Iskandar Puteri and Singapore

OpCo Domestic will run Malaysian domestic services between Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Puteri.

International-bound passengers will only need to go through customs clearance by both Singaporean and Malaysian authorities at the point of departure.

The governments of Malaysia and Singapore expect to call for an international tender in August 2016 in order to appoint a joint development partner that will provide technical support to both countries for the project.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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