Malaysia axes project to build high-speed rail link with Singapore

Mahathir confirms high-speed rail project with Singapore to be scrapped - The Jakarta Post

Malaysia has set up a fund for members of the public to donate cash to help the new Government repay its hefty national debt, the finance ministry says, providing a bank account number for deposits.

More recently, Dr Mahathir's announcement that Malaysia is pulling out of the widely anticipated KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project has contributed to talk that the strained relations Singapore and Malaysia shared before Mahathir retired and came back might return.

The Straits Time said planning work had already began on Singapore's end.

"The terms and agreement for the HSR are such that if we decide to drop the project, it would cost us a lot of money".

When questioned about the compensation that needed to be paid, he said he "supposed" it would be RM500mil.

Bai had a friendly meeting with Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, where he described the prime minister as China's "respected old friend who will bring bilateral relations to a new high".

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Implying that the stunning election upset he led across the causeway may have a ripple effect in Singapore, Dr Mahathir said: "I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be exhausted of having the same government, the same party since independence".

"As far as the leaders from China and the Chinese are concerned, we have made it clear that we are going to look at all these contracts again because they are very costly for the government and will incur huge debts, which we can not pay", he was reported as saying.

"I'm not trying to be political, but the move in canceling both projects is the right one".

Mahathir has reopened an investigation into 1MDB following his election victory. "So we are not only looking at the [high speed rail project] but also mega projects which cost billions of dollars". We will make no money at all from the operation.

In a separate press conference on Wednesday, transport minister Anthony Loke said the planned cancellation would be subject to negotiations with Singapore. "Our position will be based on Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian, and the Chinese embassy's speeches", said a Chinese official. "We do not want to add on to debts and the pressure on the government", he added.

Singapore's government did not immediately have any comment on Dr Mahathir's reported vow to scrap the project. Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng ends the statement by expressing their honest appreciation and gratitude to all Malaysians for all their support and concern.

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