In a joint statement on 1 January 2021, the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Singapore announced the termination of the Kuala Lumpur - Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, following the expiry of the suspension period of the project on 31 December 2020.
According to the statement, the Malaysian Government had proposed several changes to the HSR project, in light of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy. “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 31 December 2020.
“Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions, resulting from this termination of the HSR agreement.”
The statement further highlighted that “both countries remain committed to maintain good bilateral relations, and cooperate closely in various fields, including strengthening the connectivity between the two countries.”
In a separate statement, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) revealed that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin met via videoconference on 2 December 2020 to review the status of the HSR project, including changes proposed by Malaysia to the project.
“Malaysia has since allowed the HSR bilateral agreement to be terminated, and has to compensate Singapore for costs already incurred by Singapore in fulfilling its obligations under the bilateral agreement in accordance with the parties’ agreement.”
Singapore and Malaysia signed the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore HSR bilateral agreement in 2016. The construction of the project was subsequently suspended, from September 2018 to 31 December 2020, at Malaysia’s request, with the understanding that the extension of the suspension period until 31 December 2020 would be the final extension, explained MOT.
“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,” said MOT.