PUTRAJAYA — Sept. 5, 2018: Malaysia and Singapore today signed new documents to vary the HSR Bilateral Agreement based on a recent mutual decision to defer the project to the end of May 2020.
Following Malaysia’s request for the deferment, the government will pay an abortive cost of S$15 million to Singapore by January 31, 2019.
Bernama quoted a joint statement as saying that if by the May 2020 deadline Malaysia still does not proceed with the project, Malaysia will also bear the agreed costs incurred by Singapore in fulfilling the bilateral agreement.
During the suspension period, the countries will continue to discuss the best way forward for the project, with the aim of reducing costs.
With the deferment, the service is now expected to commence by January 1, 2031, instead of December 31, 2026.
Today’s signing was between Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan. It was witnessed by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
According to Khaw, the new understanding means that the project would be deemed terminated if construction is not resumed by May 2020 and Malaysia will reimburse Singapore for the wasted costs it has incurred.
“Malaysia has explained their reason to suspend the project, they decided to suspend it for a year and we think we can manage.”
He added that although the HSR bilateral agreement has no provision for such a suspension, Singapore has given Malaysia a fair consideration in the spirit of bilateral cooperation.