Malaysia's transport agency says CEO misquoted on high-speed rail

Malaysia's transport agency says CEO misquoted on high-speed rail
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

UPDATE (11.30PM):

Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) said that its CEO was 'regretably misquoted' in an interview published by a Malaysian business paper.

According to a Channel NewsAsia report, SPAD has issued a letter of clarification in response to the statement by Singapore's Ministry of Transport.

SPAD said: "We would have preferred to terminate the line at the CBD area. This will be closer to Orchard Road than Jurong East. However this is a joint project for the benefit of both countries and hence there has to be give and take. For example, if we had wanted to terminate (sic) at the CIQ, the entire project will be within our borders and we will have more control. But this would not have been optimal and neither country would have benefited as much. So just as we want Singapore to consider our economic and social considerations, we have to weigh Singapore's economic and commercial considerations as well to come to an agreement."

Here is the full letter:

 


SINGAPORE - Singapore's Ministry of Transport (MOT) said in a statement on Friday that it was "surprised" by Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission's (SPAD) recent statement that Malaysia preferred to terminate the High Speed Rail (HSR) at the existing CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex in Johor Bahru.

This comes after both countries had agreed at the 2013 Leaders' retreat to build the HSR link between Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Singapore. In May, leaders of both countries also announced that the HSR terminus in Singapore will be located at Jurong East. Malaysia had decided last year that the HSR terminus in KL would be located in Bandar Malaysia.

"Furthermore, our understanding is that Malaysia views the commercial premise of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project, and with which we agree, as being based on a direct connection between the two city centres. Terminating the HSR in Johor Bahru will not achieve this objective", said the statement.

Here is MOT's statement:

"Singapore and Malaysia agreed at the 2013 Leaders' Retreat to build the High Speed Rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Studies have been carried out by both countries.

"Malaysia decided last year that the HSR terminus in Kuala Lumpur would be located in Bandar Malaysia. Similarly, Singapore has decided that the HSR terminus in Singapore would be located in Jurong East. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong informed Prime Minister Najib Razak of this at this year's Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat, and the location was also announced to the public at the joint press conference by the two Prime Ministers following the Retreat.

"We are therefore surprised by the Land Public Transport Commission's (SPAD) recent statement that Malaysia preferred to terminate the HSR at the existing CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex in Johor Bahru.

"Furthermore, our understanding is that Malaysia views the commercial premise of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project, and with which we agree, as being based on a direct connection between the two city centres. Terminating the HSR in Johor Bahru will not achieve this objective.

"Both sides are in discussion on the project's commercial and operating models. Singapore has proposed that the domestic transit HSR services, which will stop at six stations in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and hence primarily serve commuters travelling within Malaysia, be operated separately from the express non-stop HSR services between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

"This will give Malaysia autonomy over the domestic transit services to serve Malaysia's domestic needs and benefit Malaysia, while both countries work together on the cross-border HSR services.

"On the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, both countries can only determine the type and alignment of the crossing after both terminus locations have been confirmed.

"Singapore informed Malaysia in June 2011 that the terminus in Singapore would be located at the Woodlands North station of the Thomson-East Coast Line.

"However, we have yet to receive official confirmation of the location of Malaysia's RTS terminus in Johor Bahru.

"As such, contrary to what was said in the Malaysian media by Johor State Exco for Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee Chairman Datuk Ir. Haji Hasni bin Haji Mohammad, there is no agreement with Malaysia that the crossing will be a high bridge."

debwong@sph.com.sg

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