Loke: KL-Singapore high-speed rail project still on track despite Japanese companies' opt-out

BATU CAVES: The proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project will not be affected despite news of some Japanese companies opting out of participating in the request for information (RFI).

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the other companies interested in the project will be known after its deadline on Monday.

"It is up to them (the firms). This does not mean we'll halt the project just because one party is not interested as there are many hundreds of others who have expressed interest (in the project).

"I don't know who they (the companies participating in RFI) are as the one handling it is MyHSR (Corporation Bhd)," he told reporters at the Batu Caves KTM station today.

He said the companies would then be evaluated before the next process, request for proposal (RSP), takes place.

It was reported that some Japanese firms, including East Japan Railway Co, have opted out of participating in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project ahead of the deadline for the RFI.

This is expected to leave the door open for Chinese businesses, who have built a high-speed railway in Indonesia, and are now constructing another in Thailand, to secure the project, according to the news report.

The government is expected to shortlist candidates within several months and start full-fledged negotiations with the Singaporean government at the earliest by later this year.

It was reported that the rail project, which would allow shorter travel time of 90 minutes between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, will include seven stations in Malaysia, namely, Bandar Malaysia, Sepang-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri; as well as Jurong East in Singapore.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government is planning to revive the HSR project with a substantial cost reduction.

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