World

Johor's Forest City lobbies for High-Speed Rail stop

Developers of Forest City in Johor have lobbied the Malaysian government to place a High-Speed Rail (HSR) station in the mega property project just west of the Second Link crossing between Singapore and Malaysia, The Straits Times has learned.

Sources said Country Garden - a top Chinese developer that is building Forest City in a joint venture with the state government and Sultan of Johor - is "naturally hoping the HSR will stop there" to boost the development, which has a projected value of RM450 billion (S$144 billion).

The planned 350km HSR links Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and is expected to begin running by the end of 2026.

If Country Garden's proposal is adopted, it will likely take the form of a spur line - or a short branch line - on the transit service in Malaysia, leaving the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur express route unaffected.

"If the HSR stops at Forest City, the distance will be too short to continue to Singapore," a source told ST, explaining why a spur line is more feasible.

The nearest point from Forest City to the maritime border with Singapore is just 1.1km.

Any proposal regarding the HSR must be agreed bilaterally between Malaysia and Singapore, although the additional cost to extend a spur line to Forest City could be borne by Malaysia alone.

PLANS

There are also plans for ferry, road and rail links from Forest City to mainland Johor and Singapore, but there has been no confirmation that the republic has agreed to them.

The land reclamation project of Forest City - comprising four man-made islands in the Strait of Johor covering 1,386 ha, nearly thrice the size of Sentosa Island - is set to be completed over 20 years and cost RM175 billion.

Singapore and Malaysia signed a bilateral agreement on Dec 13 last year to embark on the HSR project. The bullet trains will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes.

The existing track alignment will run from Bandar Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur, passing six transit stops up to Iskandar Puteri, Johor, before terminating in Jurong, Singapore.

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