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Malaysia suggests reviving talks on High Speed Rail; PM Lee says S’pore 'looks forward to receiving more details'

SINGAPORE — Malaysia has suggested reviving discussions on a High Speed Rail (HSR) with Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Nov 29) during a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri.

Malaysia suggests reviving talks on High Speed Rail; PM Lee says S’pore 'looks forward to receiving more details'

A concept design of the Iskandar Puteri station in Johor, Malaysia of the now-cancelled High-Speed Rail project.

SINGAPORE — Malaysia has suggested reviving discussions on a High Speed Rail (HSR) with Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Nov 29) during a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri.

During the press conference held in Singapore to mark the start of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between the two countries, Mr Lee said that he had responded to Mr Ismail’s suggestion by noting that Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR project and that this had been amicably settled and closed.

“Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project and the two ministries of transport will discuss the matter,” Mr Lee added.

“Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia so that we can study them and consider the matter again starting from a clean slate.”

Earlier this year, Malaysia paid more than S$102 million in compensation to Singapore following the termination of the project after both countries failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia by the deadline of Dec 31 last year.

During their meeting after a visit to the Woodlands Checkpoint this morning, the two prime ministers also discussed other areas of collaboration, such as the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project, Mr Lee said.

“Construction is ongoing and we look forward to the RTS system commencing passenger service by the end of 2026,” he said.

Singapore also continues to support the development of Iskandar Malaysia, he added, noting that the 14th joint committee for Iskandar Malaysia will convene next month.

“I hope that they will be able to give the project another further push,” he said.

Mr Ismail said that the two leaders agreed on the need to resume work on existing bilateral mechanisms, including the annual leaders’ retreat, which had to be called off twice due to the pandemic.

The leaders now plan to have the next retreat in the first quarter of next year, he added.

Mr Ismail said that the pair also spoke about the situation in Myanmar, agreeing that it is crucial for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to continue playing a positive and constructive role in facilitating a durable and peaceful solution there.

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HSR transport travel train Malaysia Johor Lee Hsien Loong

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