Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday (July 20) confirmed in a media conference that the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail will be ready and running by 2026.
Construction will commence in 2018 for the 350km-long railway and new high-speed trains are scheduled to complete within 8 years. Only 15km of the rail track will be in Singapore soil, with Jurong East as the terminal point. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that the government will create a second central business district in Jurong within the new rail vicinity.
However, the 8 years timeline is seen as ambitious to many because SMRT previously stated that they require 7 years to repair 26 faulty China-made trains. Singapore and Malaysia has only a memorandum of understanding for the high-speed rail plan, and such transnational agreements are usually fragile and depends heavily on politics and diplomacy between the two country. Singapore and Malaysia recently have a face off over road toll charges at the two bridges, with each threatening to increase road taxes to “match” each other.
Politically, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are relatively stable as both dictators severely punishes dissent with defamation lawsuits, sedition charges and trumped-up offenses. Malaysians are unlikely to topple their corrupted PM because their election is rigged, while the majority of Singaporeans accept legalised corruptions of PM Lee Hsien Loong.
Construction companies from overseas have expressed interests in the construction of the high speed rail. Japan and China have recently sent envoys and diplomats to Malaysia to discuss the project in details.