Dr Mahathir insists Singapore ‘knows what we want to do’ about HSR

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Photo: YouTube screengrab
 

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the Singapore Government is indeed aware of Malaysia’s intentions with regards to the High-Speed Rail (HSR), despite Putrajaya not clarifying its official position on the project.

Dr Mahathir’s comments come after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that Singapore plans to seek compensation for all costs incurred if Malaysia cancels the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, as per the terms of the 2016 high-speed rail bilateral agreement between Singapore and Malaysia.

There was also no official reply to Singapore’s diplomatic note sent on June 1 to seek Malaysia’s position on the HSR.

When asked by reporters to respond to the latest remarks by the Singapore ministers, Dr Mahathir said, “As far as the Singapore government is concerned, we have not given them full notice yet but they know what we want to do.”

Since taking up his position in office, Dr Mahathir has said on multiple occasions that Malaysia is unable to continue with the HSR project due to government debts.

Without giving an official reply, Dr Mahathir said that “decisions are not so easily made”.

Singapore continues with works on the HSR because according to Mr Khaw, we are “legally bound to perform our obligations under the bilateral agreement, regardless of any changes in the Government”.

He also added: “The Singapore Government will continue to press for official clarification from the Malaysian Government. There are appropriate processes at law in case Malaysia should wish to propose changes to the bilateral agreement, or to terminate it. These due processes should be followed”.

Mr Khaw also told parliament that “If the Malaysian Government fails to provide an official response, then we cannot ignore the public statements made by the Malaysian Ministers, and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir himself, on the termination of the Project, and Singapore will act according to its rights.”

The total cost incurred for the HSR had already exceeded S$250 million by the end of May 2018, with further costs of around S$52 million to be incurred by the end of December.

Netizens were rather incensed and just wanted an official reply from Putrajaya.

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obbana@theindependent.sg