KL rail tender due this week

Jurong East in Singapore. Source: Wikimedia

The tender for the high-speed rail (HSR) scheme connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is expected to be called within a year, said Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

He said the ministry was hoping to sign a memorandum of understanding for the link on July 19.

Liow said: “Once the signing is done, the authorities will prepare the tender documents. The tender will be called within a year’s time.

“Many international companies have shown interest in the project and we welcome that. This is a very important and prestigious project because it is the first in Asean.

“The transport ministry is giving its full support to the project,” he said.

Liow said the project would bring economic development to both countries.

The rail link, first proposed in 2013, reflects improved relations in recent years, despite the Malaysian money-laundering scandal that has rocked Singapore’s financial sector.

Singapore was once part of Malaysia but they split acrimoniously in 1965, complicating diplomatic and economic relations for decades.

It is expected to cut travelling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared with more than four hours by car.

A Singapore to Kuala Lumpur flight takes around 50 minutes, although this is obviously extended by check-in times and travel out to the airports.

It was due to stop at Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri which would see development projects, added Liow, who is also president of the Malaysian Chinese Association.

“We want them to link up with our urban transportation such as LRT and MRT as part of the transformation programme,” the minister said.

The proposed 350km-double-track HSR route is set to terminate in the new township of Bandar Malaysia, on the edge of Kuala Lumpur, and in Jurong East in Singapore.

The project has an estimated cost of 60 (US$15 billion) to 65 billion ringgit, based on an estimate of US$10 million per kilometre for the systems and track. The civil infrastructure work is expected to cost three times that amount, according to the Malaysian media.