JOHOR BARU, Jan 5 — The Youth wing of Johor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) wants the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to explain fully the reasons that led to the termination of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project.
Its legal bureau chief Fadhli Umar Aminolhuda said the government owes a “civic responsibility” to do so as the project failure has a huge ripple effect on the economy.
“Without dismissing the possibility of a confidentiality clause between the parties concerned, Johor Amanah Youth asserts that the PN government has a civic responsibility in clarifying the total compensation amount paid to the Singapore government following the HSR’s termination.
“With that, what were the terms that failed to be agreed upon by the two governments that led to the termination of the project?
He pointed out the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had come under heavy fire when it previously requested a postponement of the HSR project to renegotiate the RM110 billion cost.
“In addition, what was the actual cost of losses incurred by the Malaysian government as a result of the initial completed work?” he asked in a statement posted on the Johor Amanah Youth Facebook page late last night.
Fadhli Umar said the PN government needed to give the figures of job losses due to the cancellation of the HSR project.
“With that, the government also needs to detail its plans for those unemployed due to the project, more so due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Fadhli Umar asked PN to elaborate on its plans to boost the Johor’s economy now that the HSR has been cancelled.
He said about 70,000 jobs were initially promised through the HSR project.
Fadhli Umar said Johor Amanah believes that the questions asked, which were also voiced by various non-governmental organisations and political parties, should be answered by the PN government immediately.
“The government cannot be seen as being good in using the people's money, but fails in providing a detailed explanation.
“This is clearly a form of accountability that needs to be given by the government to ensure the people's money is put to use in a responsible manner,” said Fadhli Umar, adding that the government must demonstrate that it is not putting the public’s money to waste by paying the salaries of PN ministers and deputy ministers.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the HSR project was cancelled due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.
He said the situation has forced the government to re-evaluate the HSR project.
Last Friday, Malaysia and Singapore both issued separate statements to announce the automatic termination of the HSR Bilateral Agreement.
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said Putrajaya had allowed the HSR bilateral agreement to be terminated and has agreed to compensate the island republic for costs already incurred in fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.
Malaysia, on the other hand, said it would honour its obligations under the HSR Bilateral Agreement with Singapore and pay compensation.