Japan has once again thrown its hat in the ring for the KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, days after securing the winning bid for India’s own US$15 billion (RM64.8 billion) project over China, according to a Bloomberg report.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii told the media that the government supported the bid, adding that the cooperation between the government and business leaders was central to Japan winning the deal with India. The Land of the Rising Sun is boosting efforts to export its Shinkansen (bullet train) know-how to meet prime minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge of tripling infrastructure efforts to ¥30 trillion (RM1.3 trillion).

Earlier, The Star reported that that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has received over 220 enquiries regarding the project during the request for information (RFI) stage. Of these, 98 were shortlisted, and 14 were invited to Malaysia to present their detailed views on the project.

The latter include France’s Alstom, Germany’s Siemens, Spain’s CAF and Talgo, Canada’s Bombardier, a group led by China Railway, as well as consortiums from Japan and South Korea, reports the News Straits Times.

hitachi bullet train

Among them, the Chinese entrants were praised by SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, as they “not only shown the interest but also that they are keen to win the bid.” He added that although China Railway showed keen interest, Malaysia’s decision would all boil down “to competition.”

“Now we have the track from Kuala Lumpur right up to Sungai Besar, all using rolling stocks from China,” he said. “Even our LRT is going to use rolling stocks from Chinese companies,” stating that China had a strong part in Malaysia’s transport industry, supplying more than 80% of the rolling stocks in the country.

Japan beat out China to clinch India’s first high-speed rail project, helping it build the 505 km railway connecting the financial capital Mumbai to Gujarat’s major economic and industrial hub Ahmedabad, both countries announced on Saturday.