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Report: Challenges emerge as new bidders seek Putrajaya’s backing to revive KL-Singapore HSR

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Malaysia is facing challenges to bring back the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) through the private sector as interested entities are seeking government support, the Straits Times reported today.

Malaysia’s project delivery vehicle, MyHSR Corporation, told the Singapore newspaper that seven local and international consortia submitted their concept proposals for the development and implementation at the conclusion of the request for information (RFI) exercise on January 15.

It said that the RFI was called in order for the government to assess the private sector’s ability to fully finance the project without state funds or guarantees.

However, MyHSR Corporation declined to name the companies involved.

Public-listed Berjaya Land Berhad is believed to be among the bidders.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on January 26, it announced that its 70 per cent-owned subsidiary Berjaya Rail (B-Rail) had formed a consortium with IJM Construction, Malaysian Resources Corp and national railway firm Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad to submit a bid for the HSR.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had last year indicated that Malaysia is keen to revive the project that is now estimated to cost over RM100 billion.

But Kyodo News reported on January 12 that Japanese companies, including the East Japan Railway Company, had pulled out from bidding just days before the RFI deadline, on account of it being “too risky” without government financial support.

The HSR was initially estimated to cost RM72 billion when both Putrajaya and Singapore agreed to undertake the bilateral project in 2013, with construction scheduled to start in 2016 .

The 350km KL-Singapore line was terminated in January 2021 when both governments failed to reach a consensus, resulting in Malaysia paying its neighbour S$15 million (roughly RM300 million back then) in compensation.