MCA has hailed the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to revive the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project as a win-win decision which will usher in a host of golden opportunities for both Malaysia and its southern neighbour.
“Now that the Jakarta-Bandung HSR in neighbouring Indonesia is open for commuting, Malaysia should boost the economic development of our country and surrounding regions,” MCA vice president Datuk Lawrence Low pointed out in a media statement.
“According to research data from the Japan Institute of Economic Research (IDE), once the KL-Singapore HSR is opened for travel, Malaysia is poised to earn US$1 bil (about RM4.61 bil) in revenue every year.”
On the contrary, Malaysia is expected to suffer losses of approximately RM209 bil in gross national income (GNI) and 70,000 jobs if the HSR project is axed. “Any cancellation of the KL-Singapore HSR project will be a decision where losses will outweigh the gains,” stressed Low who is also the MCA Economic and SMEs Affairs Committee chairman.
The KL-Singapore HSR project was initially proposed by the then Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government led by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak. However, following the fall of the BN administration in 2018, it was shelved and terminated by the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Rebutting Tony Pua
In a related development, MCA is the of the view that barbs by DAP former publicity secretary Tony Pua against the construction of the KL-Singapore HSR need to be repudiated.
“Prosper thy neighbour! Tony Pua is urged to view the decision to revive the KL-Singapore HSR from a long-term and macro perspective as this mega-scale project is also a long-term investment,” Low hit out.
“Once completed, it will yield dividends for the economies of both countries in the next few decades, much higher than what may be observed in the short term.”
As a mega-scale project that will mutually benefit both Malaysia and Singapore, MCA contended that the KL-Singapore HSR project is poised to drive the economic development of the surrounding regions of both countries once the route is open for travel.
“Therefore, Tony Pua should refrain from relying blindly on cost. Instead of opposing, he should appraise plans for the HSR from a long-term and macro perspective,” suggested Low.
“Otherwise, he will need to live with his conscience as having gone down the rails of history as the one who hindered the development and progress of Malaysia.”
For context, Pua has posited that it could be cheaper to provide Malaysians free flights to Singapore than paying interest on financing for the KL-Singapore HSR project.
The former Damansara MP based his calculations on data released by flight data company OAG which found that flights from the KLIA to Changi route was the busiest international route for 2023 at 4.9 million seats.
Assuming each seat costs RM400, Pua said this would add up to RM2 bil per year. Comparatively, he stated that the HSR project would cost RM80 bil if the government were to fund the project. – Dec 26, 2023
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