TWO former prime ministers have been named as defendants in a lawsuit over the cancellation of high-speed rail (HSR) project between Malaysia and Singapore.
According to a statement of claim filed on Dec 30 by Hatta Sanuri in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Mahathir was negligent and had committed tort of misfeasance in public office when making the decision to postpone the project when he was prime minister in 2018.
The plaintiff further alleged that Muhyiddin was also negligent and had committed tort of misfeasance in public office when his administration had terminated the project on Jan 1, 2021, which resulted in Malaysia having to pay Singapore RM320 mil in compensation as part of its obligation under the bilateral agreement.
In addition to Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin, Hatta also listed former economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, former transport minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and the Malaysian government as third, fourth and fifth defendants.
He further claimed that 70,000 potential high-paying jobs from the project, the potential to gain RM70 bil in profits, as well as over RM366 mil in compensation to Singapore were among the losses suffered by all Malaysians following the project’s cancellation, which he said resulted in the loss of foreign investors’ confidence.
Hatta is seeking declarations that the project’s cancellation as well as the RM366 mil in compensation to Singapore be deemed null and void and a resumption of the project while demanding compensation of RM1 mil to each Malaysian citizen over the HSR construction’s delay.
Both countries first inked the bilateral agreement on HSR on Dec 13, 2016, during the Malaysian administration of then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The RM110 bil project, which involves 350km of development, was intended to shorten the travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to a mere 90 minutes. – Jan 31, 2023
Main pic credit: Reuters