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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Singapore, Malaysia set 2020 target for new high-speed rail link

TUESDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2013 14:25

A high-speed rail link between Singapore and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur may be completed by 2020, leaders of the two countries said today.

The rail network will be a “huge game changer” and transform the way the two countries do business, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Singapore today at a joint press conference with his counterpart. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the journey may take 90 minutes.
Relations between the two neighbors have improved since Najib took office in 2009 as the prime ministers resolved issues from a new bridge to link the nations to the price the city- state pays for water. Singapore was part of Malaysia for two years from 1963 to 1965, when it was kicked out from the federation amid ideological differences.

“It’s a strategic project for both countries,” Lee said today. “It will change the way we see each other. It’s the way people in London and Paris are able to think of it, really as twin cities where you can commute, go up there, do business, meet friends, have a meal and come back all within maybe two- thirds of the day.”

Najib said it’s too early to reveal the costs of the project, which will be a public-private partnership with “very strong government participation.” Malaysia will provide infrastructure support, he said, without elaborating.

Malaysia needs “continuity and stability” for projects with Singapore to work out, said Najib, who must call for national elections in coming weeks. He needs to dissolve parliament by April 28 for polls to be held within 60 days.

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