December 31 2020 was the deadline given for the agreement to be sealed for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project, however both Malaysian and Singapore government could not reach an amiable agreement on the project leading to a lapse and eventually being terminated.
In a joint press statement Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong said the Malaysian government had proposed several changes to the HSR project due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy. “Both governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR Agreement had lapsed,” it said.
The leaders said both countries will abide by their respective obligations and now proceed with the necessary actions, resulting from this termination of the HSR Agreement. However, this does not affect the good bilateral relations both country enjoys and will look at cooperating closely in various other fields, including strengthening the connectivity between the two countries.
Initially mooted by the PH government, the discussion on the RM110 billion project was later postponed to end 2020, however due to the current state of uncertainty and economic focus being place on other crucial sectors, large scale infrastructure projects can be put on hold forthe future.
This was the second time the 350-kilometre HSR project had been postponed after it was first postponed in September 2018. On Dec 13, 2016, Malaysia and Singapore inked the landmark bilateral agreement to pave the way for the implementation of the HSR project, which was scheduled to be completed in 2026 and would cut travel time between the two cities to just 90 minutes.