JOHOR BAHRU – The Johor Government fully supports the Federal Government’s decision to axe the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.
Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said the Federal Government’s decision to scrap the project was appropriate and in line with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) approach not to burden the country with expensive mega-projects and at the same time, trying to reduce the national debt.
He said the statement by Johor Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin that the RM110 billion HSR was a ‘game changer’ for development in southern Johor, was unacceptable in the current economic situation.
“The project (HSR), if implemented, will only be completed and be operational by Dec 31, 2026, which is about nine years from now.
“The project will take too long to see the returns, let alone the profits. Other costs like for maintenance have not been taken into account. Investing in a project worth RM110 billion is very high while the returns are low,” he said in a statement here today.
Osman said the state government was committed to bring development to central and northern Johor via a mode of transport network which was cheaper, modern and took into account cost-effectiveness.
He said what was most important was the service offered was enjoyed by people from all walks of life and the project did not burden Malaysia’s finances in that the country was forced to bear the debt for a very long period of time.
On May 28, Dr Mahathir confirmed that Malaysia would be scrapping the HSR project spanning 335km and involving four states, to connect Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, with a travelling time of 90 minutes. The project was scheduled for completion in 2026.
With regard to the RM500 million in compensation which Malaysia probably had to pay to Singapore for aborting the project, Osman said it was better for the government to bear such short-term losses than to bear the debt burden of more than RM100 billion which would have had a very bad effect on the country. – BERNAMA