The terminus in Singapore for the high speed rail link to Kuala Lumpur will be in Jurong East. Announcing this on Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that this would dovetail with Singapore’s overall plans to transform the area into its second central business district. “It will change the face of Jurong and create opportunities for our people and businesses,” he said, describing the proposed link as a “game-changer” for both countries. But he said at a joint press conference with Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak that the original target completion date for the link of 2020 is not really realistic”. “It’s a very ambitious project and a challenging one to carry out, with many complicated parts to structure properly,” he said. “The original timeline is not really realistic. We have to take a bit more time to do it well, but to do it without delay.” The leaders, speaking at the end of their annual Retreat, re-affirmed both countries’ full commitment to the success of the project, which will cut travel time between Singapore and KL to 90 minutes.
PM Najib said that the high-speed rail link is “the most important project” between the two countries, which mark the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties this year. He noted that the design process of the new rail link will likely take one year, the tender process another year, and construction itself about five years. A new deadline for the completion of the link should be announced at the end of this year, after the full, official agreement between both sides on the link is done, Mr Lee and Mr Najib said.
They noted that agreement has already been reached on several details of the link, such as the frequency bands to be reserved for operations, dual co-location of Customs, Immigration and Quarantine configuration, and that the depot and stabling facilities for the rail link will be located in Malaysia. But PM Lee noted that major decisions have yet to be made, such as on “where the funding is going to come from, how is equity going to be divided between the two parties, and structuring issues like does Singapore build its part and Malaysia build its part and we meet in the middle?” But he emphasised that the two governments are confident that the project will be completed, with time.
Elaborating on why Jurong East was chosen over the two other options of the city centre or Tuas, PM Lee said that the dense nature of the city centre would make the required construction works difficult, while there are too few businesses located in Tuas.
Bloomtowns of Jurong East and Nusajaya…here we come!