hitachi bullet train

Over the weekend, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) issued a statement clarifying a remark by its CEO Mohamad Nur Ismal Kamal, saying that Malaysia would have preferred to terminate the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) service at the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex rather than in Singapore’s Jurong East, published in The Edge Malaysia last week.

“We would prefer to terminate the line at the existing CIQ,” he was quoted as saying. “However, Singapore wants it to terminate in Jurong East and understandably so. Just as we want to develop Bandar Malaysia, they want to use the HSR to drive development in Jurong East.

“From our perspective, by terminating it at the CIQ, the entire project will be within our borders and we will have more control of it. This will be closer to Orchard Road than Jurong East. But of course, we have to weigh Singapore’s economic and commercial considerations as well to come to an agreement.”

However, the SPAD states that it, in fact, would have preferred the terminus to be located somewhere within the Singapore Central Business District (CBD), which would have certainly been much closer to Orchard Road that either the CIQ complex or Jurong East.

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SPAD’s statement in full; click to enlarge

“However, this is a joint project for the benefit of both countries and hence there has to be give and take,” it added. “For example, if we had wanted to terminate at the CIQ, the entire project will be within our borders and we will have more control. But this would not have been optimal and neither country would have benefited as much.”

On Friday, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport released its own statement saying that it was “surprised” that Malaysia wanted to end the service in Johor Bahru instead of Singapore as previously agreed on.

“Our understanding is that Malaysia views the commercial premise of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project, and with which we agree, as being based on a direct connection between the two city centres,” a spokesperson said. “Terminating the HSR in Johor Bahru will not achieve this objective.”