The government might have just given the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) the green light, but it looks like the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project won’t be happening, for now. Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia’s main focus right now would be to improve its existing rail system through electrification and double-tracking, The Star reported.

“At the moment, a high-speed rail is not too necessary, especially if it is just between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. So we won’t build the HSR just yet. But we will want to improve the quality and the services of our existing railway system. That can be done, and has been done to some extent by double-tracking and electrification,” the PM said.

“Electrification also does not pollute the environment and, at the same time, allows us to travel at high speed. With double-tracking on our railways, this will allow trains to pass each other without having to stop,” he added.

In September 2018, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to a two-year suspension of the HSR project, which ends in May 2020. As part of the deal, Malaysia has reimbursed S$15mil (RM45.6 million) to Singapore for suspending the project.

Separately, while there has been a lot of train talk lately, don’t forget that there’s a third national car project brewing in the background, because the government has not.

At the same Moving the Rail Industry Forward event in Cyberjaya today, the PM repeated his emphasis on Malaysia’s need for a third national car, the Malay Mail reported.

The PM acknowledged that the rail sector will receive billions in government allocations, but stressed that the stimulatory effect on the economy was not the same with consumer spending in the automotive sector.

“No, we are investing (in trains) but the main thing is, when we build in Malaysia, only the government is the customer, because the railways belongs to the government. So the government must make a decision to encourage local production, by buying more from local sources,” Mahathir said when asked if the government should focus its spending on public transport instead of trying to birth another national car.