Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali revealed that Singapore is worried over the fate of the RM110 billion High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting the city-state with Kuala Lumpur given the huge amount of money it has already spend on it, reported The Edge.
Azmin Ali said this was discussed during his meeting last week with Singapore’s Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon, who “expressed concern about what they have spent in the last few months.”
“We also spent some money [and] we have formed this joint committee to look into the HSR,” he said. Previously, it was reported that Singapore has spent over S$250 million (RM743 million) for the HSR.
Azmin noted that there is a formula to compute the compensation in the event that the HSR is scrapped. However, the actual amount needs to be jointly determined by the governments of Singapore and Malaysia.
Notably, Malaysia’s Attorney-General’s Chambers had instructed the Federal Government to scrutinise the agreement, particular the terms regarding cancellation, signed with Singapore in December 2016 to jointly undertake the construction of the HSR.
Nevertheless, Azmin is glad that Minister Khaw understood the reason why the Malaysia had sought to defer the project in light of the country’s debt load of over RM1 trillion. “Our priority is to reduce the government’s expenditure, not increase our borrowings.”
“What I did was to explain the current economic situation and condition prevailing in Malaysia. I’m happy the Minister took note of our predicament back home but certainly he needs to explain and discuss in their cabinet before they come back for further discussions.”
Furthermore, he clarified that privatising the HSR is not among the proposals discussed with Minister Khaw during the meeting.
Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister is expected to meet Minister Khaw again following the Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya on Friday (17 August).
Image sourced from The Star Online
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