SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will visit Putrajaya on Tuesday (Dec 13) for the annual Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat with Malaysian PM Najib Razak.
Both prime ministers will witness the signing of a bilateral agreement for the high-speed rail linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement on Monday (Dec 12).
The 350km high-speed rail line, first mooted in 2013, has been billed as a "game changer" for both countries. It will shave travel time by land between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared to more than four hours by car.
The signing of the agreement is a culmination of intensive bilateral discussions since the 2013 Leaders' Retreat, and furthers the good progress made by both countries since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July, the PMO statement said.
"It also demonstrates the two governments' commitment to the project, which will boost connectivity, strengthen economic ties and enhance people-to-people linkages when completed," the statement added.
PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee and a high-level delegation comprising Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean; Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan; Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu; Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong; Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli; Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng; Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah; Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee; and Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min.
Mr Khaw and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan will sign the bilateral agreement.
Both sides were originally scheduled to meet on Dec 5, but that meeting was postponed.
Datuk Seri Najib told reporters in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, that Singapore had requested a bit more time as it needed the President's approval before inking the pact.
Construction of the 350km line is expected to start in 2018, with trains running by 2026.
Three services will run along the eight-station, dual-track line.
There will be an express service between the two terminal stations - Jurong East in Singapore and Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur; a shorter shuttle service connecting Singapore and Iskandar Puteri in Johor; and a domestic service linking the seven stations in Malaysia.
Besides Bandar Malaysia and Iskandar Puteri, the other five stations in Malaysia will be at Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar and Batu Pahat.
International-bound travellers will need to clear customs and immigration only when departing the respective countries.
This article was first published on Dec 12, 2016.
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