Update: Malaysian Transport Authority: We were misquoted

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) is panicking over a recent media interview by their Malaysian counterpart, Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), saying the latter prefer to have the High Speed Rail Terminus located at Johor Bahru in Malaysia over Jurong in Singapore.

Photo by Wikipedia
Photo by Wikipedia

MOT issued a press statement immediately saying they are “surprised” after they received media queries quoting the SPAD.

“We are therefore surprised by the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) recent statement that Malaysia preferred to terminate the HSR at the existing CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex in Johor Bahru.”

The MOT also took the opportunity to shoot down the idea of having the terminus at Johor Bahru because it will be out of the way:

“We are therefore surprised by the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) recent statement that Malaysia preferred to terminate the HSR at the existing CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex in Johor Bahru.”

This is not the first time Singapore and Malaysia respective Transport Ministries have engaged in miscommunications publicly. In March 2015, both sides accused each other of delaying the high speed rail project.

The project however is still in limbo as there is still no new timeline set after the old deadlines expired. Proposal for the rail started in 2010, and was expected to finalize discussions by end of 2014 and subsequently complete the project by 2020. The initial plan stated that construction is supposed to start in 3rd quarter of 2015, but till today, there isn’t even a tender called for.

The S$14 billion project is however unlikely to go through as the two present Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia – Lee Hsien Loong and Najib – are both facing political crisis and might be toppled over in the coming elections. PM Najib is facing a scandal of 1MDB which Wall Street Journal claimed the Malaysian PM used the money to bankroll the General Election in 2013.

Photo by wallstreetjournal
Photo by wallstreetjournal

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is similarly facing a leadership crisis as his national policies created a myriad of problems causing a severe decline in living standards, along with retirement, public infrastructural, social and economical problems. Combo-ed with the demise of his popular father, PM Lee Hsien Loong lost further support and looks ready to score a new low for his ruling People’s Action Party in the coming elections.

You may read the rest of MOT’s press release here.