Despite having been informed by Malaysia that the High Speed Rail (HSR) project would be discontinued, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has continued to spend S$10 million a month. The PAP Minister defended himself blaming Malaysia for not providing an “official notice”, and deliberately incur more costs by refusing to issue a stop work order for all construction work. The ex-Malaysian citizen Minister is hoping that he would get to claim the “extra spending” from Malaysia.
According to Minister Khaw Boon Wan in July, S$40 million will be spent from August to the end of 2018. The millionaire Minister then sarcastically said:
“It will be most unfortunate, if Malaysia has in fact decided to terminate, but delays in notifying us, because there will be further wasted expenditure.”
Till date, Malaysia has yet to give the “official notice” as the Singapore Minister demanded. The Malaysian Foreign Minister even flew in to Singapore a day before the July 31 “deadline” earlier demanded by Minister Khaw Boon Wan, only to return to Malaysia without any discussion about the HSR. The Malaysian authorities then gave Minister Khaw Boon Wan another blank assurance that a discussion would be held “soon”, and at the same time reminding him that the water prices will have to be renegotiated.
Both the HSR and water price agreements are hugely disadvantageous to Malaysia, but they were signed by Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak who needed Singapore to help him launder hundreds of millions in stolen state funds in exchange.
Already in a trillion RM debt, the Malaysian government could not afford a further RM100 billion for the HSR. Malaysia could not afford to pay RM500 million in compensation for breaking the HSR contract either. The water price agreement also saw Singapore paying a fraction of the amount fellow Malaysian state Melaka pays to Johor at 50 sen per thousand gallons.
According to Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad, the HSR project will be postponed until the country’s finance improved – which would be the second best option as compared to a full severance. There is also a chance of the Singapore government being changed over in the next election like Malaysia did, that would change Singapore’s combative attitude against its neighbour.