Malaysia Approves a Singapore Rail Link, For Now

01 August 2018

July 31, 2018

Malaysia’s new government has called into question the future of multibillion-dollar rail projects since Mahathir Mohamad took power in May. Now it appears to be ready to proceed with at least one.

The Malaysian cabinet has given in-principle approval for a rail project linking Johor Baru in the southernmost tip of the country with Singapore, Malay Mail Online said in a report citing Transport Minister Anthony Loke. It is still looking at costs and other details.

Anthony LokePhotographer: Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images
This project was delayed by two months due to the general elections, which saw Mahathir become prime minister. A known Singapore critic, Mahathir has wanted to cancel a proposed multi-billion dollar high-speed railway connecting the city state to Kuala Lumpur as it was too expensive while saying it may happen in the future.

Mahathir’s stance prompted Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan to tell parliament on July 9 that his government will seek compensation for all costs incurred if Malaysia cancels the 350-kilometer railway link between the two countries.

For now, it seems to be a go for the 4-kilometer rail line, which will be able to transport 10,000 travelers in one direction every hour between Singapore and Johor Baru. The two neighbors will set up a joint company for the project after the full approval is given by Malaysia.

Credit: Bloomberg

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