5 January 2021
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government wanted the ability to directly select vendors for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project without the involvement of Singapore, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak alleged on Monday (Jan 4).
He claimed on a Facebook page that this was a departure from his initial vision for both countries to be responsible for the construction of the railway in order to prevent possible abuse or irregularity.
In a Facebook post, Mr Najib cited Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung’s remarks that Malaysia had proposed to remove an assets company that the two countries previously agreed on, adding that Singaporeans were not happy with this move.
“They (PN) want to choose the contractor and vendors for the HSR train through direct negotiation without Singapore interfering with it.
“The Singapore government was not happy with the request to have the HSR train end at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport). Once they alight there, they will have to switch to the ERL train owned by YTL (Corporation) which is half the speed of the HSR to get to the city.
“I find this decision odd. Visitors from Singapore would want to get to the city as fast as possible and not go to KLIA and then have the change into a slower train to get to Kuala Lumpur. If they wanted to go to the airport to board a plane they would do so at their own airport,” Mr Najib posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Why would they want to ride an HSR train to KLIA,” he asked.
Mr Najib also said the Singapore government terminated the project because it did not agree with two of the PN governments’ requests, and not because of Covid-19.
This meant Malaysia must now pay as much as RM1 billion (S$329 million) in compensation to Singapore, he said.
“Following that, the PN government has now extended the ERL train to Johor Baru calling it the HSR KL-Johor Baru at medium speed at the same cost as the cancelled HSR KL-Singapore project.
“The company operating this train line, ERL, is set to lose a lot of money due to the loss of revenue from Singapore but the PN government has also agreed to pay them compensation every year.