Mini Lee should at least make a case on why the HSR is good for both countries

May 30, 2018

While it may appear to make perfect sense for Mahathir to shave off Malaysia’s run away train deficit. Maybe the answer is not in cancelling an important link between two of South East Asia’s biggest cities.

High speed rail linkages between cities and how they can generate synergistic energy has proven to be a very technically reliable and economically robust model. Nice and Paris…Tokyo and Japan…Ulan bator and Beijing etc etc. Even Iran is tinkering with the Tehran–Qom–Isfahan HSR.

The reason why the HSR is a matter of strategic importance for Singapore goes beyond how this project will revivify Jurong. In my assessment that is only a sidedish. There is the more important geo economic dimension and it is simply this, Singapore will be a terminus for OBOR south of the ismuth of the Peninsula. Many people are wrong when they think the HSR ends only in Bandar Malaysia in KL, it can and will in all likelihood extend beyond Malaysia.

Without the HSR….Singapore does not even feature in OBOR…it is cut off.

The recent revelation of Malaysia’s RM 1 trillion debt does indeed warrant a call for a reassessment of all mega projects. However, the smart thing to do now is not for Malaysia to scrap the plan but to see whether there are areas to further mitigate the cost with innovative financial insturments that will hopefully come from the private sector.

This is certainly a crisis. But it is not one that cannot be negotiated in such a way where Singapore will lose just because Mahathir believes the best way to move forward in Malaysia is to go backwards!

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‘Every effort should be made to save the situation. 4G leaders running to be the next Singapore PM should be getting on their bikes and heading to Putrajaya Malaysia to try to save the situation. That at least is what leadership is all about….it is not about pretending that life is normal or even deliberately making an effort to avoid the only elephant in the room.’

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