SOUTH Korea is keen to share its expertise and experience with Malaysia in building the country’s first high-speed rail (HSR) network between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Korea Rail Network Authority (Korail) executive director Sang Tae
Kim said the republic had a lot to offer Malaysia as both countries shared similar characteristics such as land topography and terrain, as well as having close bilateral relations.
“Admittedly, when it comes to HSR technology, South Korea is a new kid on the block compared with other countries, but we have learnt so much and now we have become a force to be reckoned with.”
Malaysia and Singapore will sign the bilateral agreement for the HSR project at the leaders’ retreat in Putrajaya today.
The HSR service is targeted to be up and running by 2026 and will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes.
The route totals 350km in Malaysia and 15km in Singapore.
An international tender is expected to be offered next year and the contenders are expected to be from all HSR-producing countries, including Japan, China, France, Germany and South Korea.
“As a relative newcomer, we know what Malaysia is facing and what it needs, and South Korea has a lot to offer as we have an integrated approach for Malaysia in terms of construction, infrastructure, signalling and rolling stock,” Sang added.
He said if South Korea clinched the deal, it would come in as a consortium comprising Korail, which operated the country’s passenger and freight railways, Korea Rail Research Institute, which was the research and development arm of South Korea’s rail industry, the Land Infrastructure and Transport Ministry as well as the private sector consisting of eight companies.
Based on UCI statistics, South Korea’s HSR is the safest in the world in terms of number of accidents and it also scored the highest in terms of reliability.