KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is scheduled to brief the Cabinet on Friday (Dec 3) on the possible revival of the shelved Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, said Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong.
“The joint statement by both prime ministers (of Malaysia and Singapore) was made after their meeting and it has yet to be brought to Cabinet,” said Datuk Seri Dr Wee on Wednesday (Dec 1).
He was referring to a joint press conference held by Datuk Seri Ismail and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, in conjunction with the launch of the land vaccinated travel lane (VTL-Land) in Singapore, on Monday.
Mr Lee had said that Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project and that the transport ministries of both nations will discuss the matter.
“I anticipate that the Prime Minister (Ismail) will report to Cabinet on the outcome of the meeting between the two of them,” Dr Wee said.
He was wrapping up his ministerial replies on Budget 2022 at the committee stage in the Dewan Rakyat, or the Lower House of Parliament, on Wednesday.
On Jan 1, Malaysia and Singapore jointly announced the termination of the HSR project, as both countries failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia before the project agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.
In March this year, Malaysia announced that it had paid $102.8 million to Singapore for costs incurred for the development of the HSR project and in relation to the extension of its suspension.
Meanwhile, Dr Wee denied claims that former prime minister Najib Razak was present during the meeting between Mr Ismail and Mr Lee.
The issue was raised by MP R.S.N. Rayer, who insisted that there were alleged photographs of Najib at the meeting that had gone viral on social media.
Dr Wee said: “I am puzzled why you are saying that there were others present at the meeting. I have already explained clearly that there were only four ministers present and Pekan (Najib) was not there.”
Apart from himself, Dr Wee said, among those present were International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali and senior officers from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and from Wisma Putra (Foreign Ministry).
Asked by MP Ahmad Maslan if there was a timeframe for negotiations on the revival of the project, Dr Wee said “no”.
“No timeframe or duration has been fixed as it was merely a statement issued by the prime ministers after their meeting,” he added.
He said that if there were any further progress on the matter, other relevant agencies would be roped in to assist in the planning.
Dr Wee expressed his appreciation to the 22 Members of Parliament who took part in the Budget 2022 ministerial debates at the committee stage in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
“Thanks also to the MPs who gave their support. The Transport Ministry will continue to give its priority to the people and the country,” he said in a Facebook post.
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