HSR must not lose speed

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Short Position -

THE high-speed rail (HSR) project con­nect­ing Ban­dar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to Jurong East in Sin­ga­pore will be the most pres­ti­gious in­fra­struc­ture in the next few years.

The var­i­ous com­pa­nies in­volved in the project have started lin­ing up their part­ners for the project, es­ti­mated to cost RM175­bil.

The pri­mary fo­cus now is to get the project up and run­ning to con­nect KL and Sin­ga­pore by end-2026.

The align­ment has been set. It was re­ported that there are seven stops in Malaysia be­fore the train goes across the Sec­ond Link to Sin­ga­pore.

The en­tire jour­ney run­ning across the 350km route is sup­posed to take 90 min­utes. There are al­ready ques­tions be­ing raised if the train can reg­u­larly han­dle the 90-minute jour­ney with seven stops in be­tween.

Now, there could be an eighth stop – at For­est City.

Ac­cord­ing to un­con­firmed re­ports, the rea­son is to cater to the 200,000 res­i­dents who will be re­sid­ing in For­est City when the re­claimed is­land project is fully de­vel­oped in 20 years’ time.

The re­quest ap­par­ently comes from Chin­abased Coun­try Gar­den De­vel­op­ment, the de­vel­oper of For­est City.

Coun­try Gar­den has em­barked on an am­bi­tious project to re­claim land and de­velop the is­land, in­cur­ring a huge cap­i­tal out­lay in the process.

Whether Coun­try Gar­den gets its way with the HSR is some­thing that the au­thor­i­ties will de­cide. Prob­a­bly, they would con­sider the cost of putting up an ad­di­tional stop and whether there would be dis­rup­tion to the sched­ule of com­ple­tion.

How­ever, the de­ci­sion mak­ers must not lose sight of the pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the HSR. The 90-minute con­nec­tion be­tween KL and Sin­ga­pore is im­per­a­tive.

The ad­di­tional stops must not lose sight of the ob­jec­tive of the project.

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