High-speed rail MOU to be signed today

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Putrajaya today for the signing of an agreement on the high-speed rail (HSR) that will link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Mr Lee and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the project, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said yesterday.

First announced in 2013 at the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat, the ambitious rail link is set to be the first of its kind in South-east Asia.

It is billed as a "game-changer" that will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 1½ hours, compared with more than four hours by car.

"The two governments' commitment to this project is a reflection of our strong bilateral ties and our continued efforts to deepen relations," PMO said.

"When completed, the HSR will boost connectivity, strengthen economic ties and forge closer people-to-people linkages."

Mr Lee will be accompanied on his working visit by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.

Mr Khaw and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan will sign the MOU.

Mr Lee and the delegation will be hosted to lunch by Mr Najib, and both leaders will hold a joint press conference after the signing ceremony.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai had told reporters over the weekend that a tender for the project is expected to be called "within a year's time".

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