The KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project has been called off, according to prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in an interview with the Financial Times, reported by Reuters. The new Pakatan Harapan government has promised to review all mega projects started by the previous administration.

“We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110 billion and will not earn us a single cent. That will be dropped,” Mahathir told the FT. “We have an agreement with Singapore. We have to talk with Singapore about dropping that project,” he added.

Signed in December 2016, the HSR was planned as a 350 km-long double-track route (335 km of which was supposed to be in Malaysia, and 15 km in Singapore) with eight stops in total – Singapore, Iskandar Puteri, Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Seremban, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur. A bridge over the Straits of Johor – with a height clearance of 25 metres – would have linked the line between both countries.

Trains on the service were expected to run 10 car-long trains, with the capacity for up to 100 passengers per car. These trains were projected to run at average speeds of 300 km/h and bring down the rail travel time between KL and Singapore to 90 minutes.

Said to be South East Asia’s largest ever infrastructure project, the proposed rail network attracted interest from Japan with the Shinkansen bullet train, China, South Korea and several European countries. It was expected to start operations from 2026.

Dropping the HSR project would mean compensating Singapore. “The terms of the agreement are such that if we decide to drop the project, it will cost us a lot of money. So we are going to find out how we can reduce the amount of money we have to pay for breaking the agreement,” Mahathir told The Edge last week.