Mahathir confirms high-speed rail project with Singapore to be scrapped

30 May, 2018, 19:33 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Image via The Malaysian Reserve

The unilateral decision was made without the knowledge of the cabinet, as hinted at by transport minister Anthony Loke, and also caught joint venture partner Singapore by surprise.

Malaysia past year filed a review of that ruling, but the ICJ on Wednesday said Mahathir had withdrawn that application put in by the government of the defeated former prime minister Najib Razak.

This follows earlier news reports on Monday that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad intends to withdraw from the rail project that would have connected the two capital cities in 1½ hours. The lighthouse is still manned by Singaporean personnel.

"This includes the land acquisition cost to be paid to Malaysians based on the worldwide rating", he said.

The election victory by Dr Mahathir's alliance inspired patriotic sentiment among many citizens who have expressed pride on social media about being part of a new Malaysia that is free from graft and race politics.

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"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110 billion ($27.6 billion) and will not earn us a single cent".

He questioned the need for the project in the first place, saying "it is not going to serve any goal, it is not going to give us any returns". And we can not pay so much money if we continue with the project.

"We make no changes to earnings estimates as we had not accounted for the HSR project in our forecasts".

Mahathir has reopened an investigation into 1MDB that was suppressed during Najib's rule.

Jurong Lake District is where the terminus for the high speed rail was to have been sited - into Singapore's second central business district.

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USA investigators said Mr Najib's associates stole and laundered at least $US4.5 billion ($AU5.97 billion) from the fund.

Its president, Prof Dr Mohamed Rehan Karim, said the government's decision is apt given the country's high debt level.

Malaysia launched a challenge to that ruling past year but Singapore's foreign ministry said Wednesday it had been withdrawn by Kuala Lumpur. "I would like to ask Dr Mahathir if projects such as Pan Borneo Highway and Central Spine Road that are toll-free, as well as Light Rail Transit (LRT), Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and monorail, only obtain returns via ticket sales alone?"

Construction of the 350km line was slated to begin next year, with operations slated to have commenced in 2026.

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