KL-Singapore rapid-rail link to be based in former Sungai Besi airbase

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a private meeting in conjunction with the fifth Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat at Putrajaya, April 7 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a private meeting in conjunction with the fifth Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat at Putrajaya, April 7 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, April 7 — Bandar Malaysia, an urban redevelopment project of the former Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Sungai Besi here, will be home to the Malaysian end of the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the announcement in a joint press conference with his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, after holding a private retreat here.

Najib said the high speed rail project was the focal point of today's meeting, which mainly touched on improving connectivity between the two states.

Bandar Malaysia is part of a twin project developed by 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a sovereign fund that Najib established.

Najib said the proposed station in Bandar Malaysia will be the sole checkpoint on Malaysia’s end of the high speed rail.

Singapore, on the other hand, may build its station either in Jurong East, Tuas or Singapore City, Lee said.

The massive infrastructure project, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, is expected to cost US$12 billion (RM39.8 billion) and is due for completion in 2020.

But analysts are sceptical that the project could meet the deadline due to the massive amount of legal and financial challenges it faces.

Both Najib and Lee admitted that the deadline was ambitious although both leaders expressed confidence that the two governments can iron out the problems in time.

“Yes we admit that the deadline is ambitious but the project was already ambitious in the first place... there are issues but they are not insurmountable,” said Najib.

The high speed rail, a project mooted in the 1990s but failed to take off then, will help passengers commute between the two cities in just 90 minutes.

Both governments believe the project will boost trade in the two countries. 

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