Bullet train proposed for Kuala Lumpur-Singapore journey
By Y. Sulaiman
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (eTN Asia) — The Malaysian government will study a private sector proposal to build a high-speed ‘bullet train’ service pegged to cost some US$2.9 billion.
The company, YTL Corporation, is the major consortium partner of the company that built the dedicated Express Rail Link (ERL) ‘rapid train’ service from the Kuala Lumpur Central Station to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“This is a major project,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said. “We would like to see a proper submission made.”
The government, however, has approved a feasibility study for the project that was first proposed two years ago.
As the country's present railway track is not built for high-speed train service, a new standard gauge railway line will have to be built to accommodate the new trains which will travel at a speed of up to 350km per hour.
“They have told us the project is feasible,” added Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy.Ã‚Â “We are waiting for a detailed proposal from the consortium partners. It is a private sector proposal and it will be funded privately.”
“The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore rapid train service can be an extension of the present ERL train service we are providing, routing it through the newly developed southern Johor corridor en-route to Singapore,” explained Francis Yeoh.
“The project will help to move the economy. Private sector projects like ours willÃ‚Â Ã‚Â boost private sector investments in the economy.”
Yeoh believes the rapid train service is the perfect alternative for the present 9 million visitors from Singapore who fly or drive into Malaysia.
“The Malaysian and Singapore governments have been informed of our proposal,” said Francis Yeoh. “We will go to the global capital market to finance the project.”
Added Yeoh, the timing is right for launching the project as the cost of land to build the rail connection is still relatively cheap in Malaysia, unlike in Hong Kong, the US or Europe.
“We are ready to have Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, airport operators of bothÃ‚Â countries as our partners,” added Yeoh. “AsÃ‚Â cornerstone investors of the project it will ensure relevant entities from both countries will have a stake in the project.”
If built, the bullet trains will cut down travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to just 90 minutes.