Screenshot of Mahathir from CNA video

Malaysia has deliberately ignored Singapore government’s demand that they respond by July 31 on the status of the High Speed Rail. The Singapore’s Ministry of Transport sent out the demand last Friday (Jul 20), only to be met with silence from Malaysia. As of press time today (Jul 23), Malaysia did not see the need to respond to Singapore.

The Singapore transport ministry published on its state media Straits Times demanding that Malaysia to make a decision on whether to terminate the High Speed Rail:

“We have asked the Malaysian government to provide a written response clarifying its position on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project by July 31. If Malaysia wishes to meet Singapore to discuss the HSR project, it should do so by that same date. They have yet to provide to Singapore the clarifications sought, or communicate their proposed dates for such discussions.”

Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, an ex-Malaysian, has previously threatened to demand more than the contracted RM500 million compensation if Malaysia terminates the High Speed Rail contract.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last Thursday (Jul 19) told media reporters that he would postpone the project instead, to avoid paying the hefty compensation.

The HSR project will hence likely be postponed indefinitely while Malaysia sort out its trillion RM of national debt. The stop work order on the HSR would have little impact on Malaysia where project progress has not been as disruptive as in Singapore, where 62 hectares of land parcels were forcefully acquired by authorities.

Malaysia and Singapore’s diplomatic relations hit rock bottom right after Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak lost the general election in May. The Lee Hsien Loong-backed Najib Razak has since been arrested for siphoning billions of state funds, in collusion with Singapore.