The on-again off-again proposal for a bullet train between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur could be restarted as the Malaysian government calls for proposals from private firms to take on the multi-billion dollar project under a public-private partnership.
The most recent version of the high-speed railway proposed a 350km line from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore’s Jurong East hub, where travellers would transfer to the North-South or East-West MRT lines (or the forthcoming Jurong Region line) to reach their final destination in the Red Dot.
Start-to-finish travel time between either end of the high-speed line is estimated at 90 minutes.
Malaysia and Singapore first agreed to high-speed line in 2016 with a launch date of 2026, although after a series of delays Malaysia pulled the plug on the high-speed line in 2021, at which point it was estimated to cost a staggering US$17 billion.
Now the Malaysian government is looking for private consortia to build and operate the line, with government-owned MyHSR Corp, which is responsible for the project, saying the call for private involvement “marks the government’s initiative to reactivate the project… to further improve the rail transport infrastructure and to invigorate the national economy.”
“MyHSR Corp remains committed in supporting the Malaysian government to identify the most effective solution to revive the KL-SG HSR project. Globally, developments of HSR have proven to be growth engines, bringing about catalytic development and growth as well as multiplier effects that benefit all walks of life.”
Singapore-Kuala Lumpur is among the world’s busiest air corridors. In pre-pandemic times a staggering 5.5 million passengers made the 50-minute hop between the two capitals, which boasted just over 30,000 flights per year.