“I look forward to taking my first train up to Putrajaya in ten years’ time.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is confident that the 350-kilometre high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would bring both countries even closer together.
Facing a technical recession where the economy is more or less stagnant, Lee Hsien Loong has constantly reminded small and medium enterprises in Singapore to expand to neighbouring countries.
Hence, the HSR is truly important for Singapore to see that the project is completed within the stipulated ten-year period.
For Malaysia, it would definitely boost tourism as it opens up lesser known towns on the southwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia to tourists from Singapore.
As a matter of fact, Singapore’s Straits Times has printed a guide on the places that could be visited once the HSR is in operation.
Not only that, as with the rail system run by the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), areas surrounding the HSR link would definitely see an increase in both development and prosperity as connectivity improves.
While the 10-year timeframe is a “relatively short period of time” given the size and complexity of the project, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he is committed to meeting the deadline.
“We have to work very closely together and be very focused, and we must overcome all the challenges as we move ahead,” he said.
Although Malaysia and Singapore are both different countries, they share a common history. Many from both countries are related and cross-border marriages are rife.
Perhaps Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has summed it all in the best way: “Our relationship with Malaysia is strong and flourishing. We are bound by history, kinship, culture and strong people-to-people ties.”
There is no doubt that the people from both countries would benefit from this single link.
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