KUALA LUMPUR: Some 14 companies were invited by officials from Malaysia and Singapore to present "in-depth" views on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project.
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman of Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said it had reached a stage where there was "a lot of interest" in the HSR project.
He revealed that the commission received more than 220 enquiries during the project's request for information (RFI) stage.
"Ninety-eight firms made written submissions of their ideas on how the project should be implemented. And we invited 14 companies to give in-depth views in person," said Syed Hamid during the China High Speed Railway symposium at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.
He said the interviews were conducted by SPAD and Singapore's Land Transport Authority.
Transport Oriented Development - a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximise access to public transport - would be carried out along the HSR line, said Syed Hamid.
"I believe the HSR project will transform the landscape of transportation and will bring long-term economic social benefit to Malaysia and Singapore," he said.
Syed Hamid also congratulated China Railway Corporation, one of the 14 short-listed companies, for taking the initiative in organising the symposium.
"China has not only shown the interest but showed they are keen to win the bid. This is something that we can say about the Chinese companies," he said.
Syed Hamid said China had already contributed heavily in Malaysia's transport industry, having supplied more than 80 per cent of the rolling stocks in the country.
"Now we have the track from Kuala Lumpur right up to Sg Besar, all using rolling stocks from China. Now even our LRT is going to use rolling stocks from Chinese companies," he said.
He added that China had promised to work with SPAD Academy in revising its module and curriculum to upgrade the skills of its members.
Syed Hamid said Malaysia was expected to spend RM160bil in railway projects including the MRT line, the LRT line extension as well as double tracking and electrification of KTM tracks.
Both China and Japan are competing with each other for HSR construction projects around the world and have expressed interest in the project here.