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SINGAPORE, July 18 — The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR), for which the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed tomorrow, is a key bilateral project for both countries, Channel NewsAsia reported today.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Razak will witness the signing of the MoU in Putrajaya, the news portal said.
“The two governments’ commitment to this project is a reflection of our strong bilateral ties and our continued efforts to deepen relations,” a statement from the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was quoted as saying.
“When completed, the HSR will boost connectivity, strengthen economic ties and forge closer people-to-people linkages. The signing of the MoU is a significant milestone and testament to our close bilateral cooperation.” The newsportal said the MoU will be signed by Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
The report said Lee will be accompanied by his wife.
The delegation also includes Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and officials from the PMO, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Communications and Information, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Ahead of the MoU signing, Lee and the delegation will be hosted to lunch by Najib.
Both Prime Ministers are scheduled to hold a joint press conference after the signing ceremony.
The report said the HSR was first announced in February 2013 by Prime Ministers Lee and Najib at a leaders’ retreat.
The proposed 350km-long line will cut travel time between Singapore and the Malaysian capital to just 90 minutes by train.
During the last leaders’ retreat in May 2015, Lee revealed the Singapore terminus would be located at Jurong East, but both he and Najib said the initial 2020 deadline for the rail project needed to be re-assessed due to its scale and complexity, it said.
In October 2015, the report said a joint exercise was held to gauge market interest and gather industry opinion on commercial and technical aspects of the HSR.
A total of 98 submissions were received, more than half coming from European companies and consortia and 14 from parties in East Asia, it said. — Bernama