Malaysia pays Singapore $76M for canceling high-speed rail

Woodlands North station would be connected to Johor Baru by the Rapid Transit System Link. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 29, 2021, Bloomberg. Malaysia has paid Singapore S$102.8 million ($76 million) as part of a settlement to compensate the city state for canceling a high-speed rail link project, Bloomberg reported.

The payment was made to reimburse Singapore for costs incurred for the development, extension and suspension of the project, according to a joint statement on Monday. This amount represents a full and final settlement in relation to the termination of the bilateral agreement, it said.

“The two countries reached an amicable agreement on the amount following a verification process by the Government of Malaysia,” the statement said.

The multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, first mooted a decade ago and given the green light in 2013, was canceled on Dec. 31. The two countries were unable to reach an agreement on the project after Malaysia sought changes because of the pandemic’s economic impact.

The on-again, off-again 350 kilometer (218 mile) high-speed rail link would have cut travel time between the centers down to about 90 minutes versus more than four hours by car. Although flying between the two only takes about an hour, that’s a lot longer once airport check-in and security is taken into account.

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