Muhyiddin floats idea of KL-Bangkok high-speed rail in Parliament

More than a month after stepping down as prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin today suggested including Thailand in the high-speed rail project he scrapped in January. 

Muhyiddin today suggested extending the network – from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok – during his speech in Parliament, where talks of the railway project revived Tuesday, months after Muhyiddin dumped it because the country could not afford the cost. Ironically, the project is being discussed again mainly due to its potential to improve Malaysia’s economy. 

“I support the government’s plan to execute the [high-speed rail] project (from Kuala Lumpur) to Johor Bahru, even extending it to the north to the Malaysia-Thailand border to be connected with the HSR in Bangkok,” the 74-year-old said. Lawmakers this week began debating the country’s proposed economic revival plan known as the “12th Malaysia Plan.” 

“This will surely produce billions of ringgit in revenue while benefiting Malaysians, including the Bumiputera,” he added, referring to the Malay and East Malaysia majority.

The high-speed rail project, or HSR, was originally planned to connect Kuala Lumpur to Singapore via high-speed trains. But plans fell through as Malaysia suffered financial difficulties, part of which were brought on by the pandemic, and leaving the country with RM320 million (US$76 million) in compensation owed to Singapore. 

HSR talks revived after Najib Razak first made mention of it on Tuesday, saying that the project, which is currently left with the capital and the southern state of Johor as its proposed destinations, could also “connect two of Asean’s biggest economies.”

The original HSR project was projected to cost RM72 billion. 

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