Pull the Plug or Full Steam Ahead on the SG-MY High Speed Rail (HSR)?

Pull the Plug or Full Steam Ahead on the HSR?
Image via High Speed Rail

Dear Singaporeans and residents, imagine yourself hopping on a speed bullet, zooming off into the distance, leaving behind the Lion City and arriving in KL just in a blink.

A piece of cake, isn’t it?

But wait, there’s a debate brewing, one centred around this speeding bullet, known formally as the High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

FMT reports that Malaysian transport industry veteran Rosli Khan thinks the HSR project might not gift his country the golden goose it hopes for.

HSR’s Heavy Purse Strings

Mr. Khan pointed out the HSR project, which promises to paint a speedy rainbow linking KL and Singapore, has a price tag as high as a skyscraper.

Khan says, “Estimated at about RM110 billion, it represents about 38 per cent of our 2023 operating expenditure (RM289.1 billion), far exceeding this year’s development expenditure budget of RM99 billion.”

Think about the number of pratas that could buy!

But that’s not it; the cost of borrowings, interest charges, exchange rates and other pesky numbers haven’t even started singing yet.

The (Not-So) Promised Land of Returns

Khan is of the opinion that any returns from this project are about as likely as a Merlion taking a walk in Gardens by the Bay!

He believes that the HSR, like the ECRL, another Malaysian rail project, will be more of an outflow of funds from Malaysia than an inflow of benefits.

The bottom line?

According to Khan, it’s just not going to be banking in loads of Ringgit.

He mentions, “I think most financial analysts and readers will struggle to make the numbers stack up positively.”

So, it seems our speeding bullet’s rainbows might be dissipating before they’re created if his opinion holds true.

Building It Ourselves?

But here’s a twist to the story, folks!

Khan suggests, if the neighbour (that’s us, Singapore!) is keen on having a bullet train whizzing off to KL, why don’t we roll up our sleeves and build it ourselves?

After all, how hard could it be, right?

He believes that we could plan it, build it, invest in it – all in our style!

The only role our neighbour would have is to facilitate the project.

Now, isn’t that an interesting thought?

In conclusion, while the HSR might seem like the perfect solution for making KL a short ride away, it seems Mr Rosli Khan might not be as excited about this prospect as we are.

So, folks, do you all think we should don our helmets, take the blueprint in our hands and get ready to give life to our speedy dream?

Chime in and let us know your thoughts!

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