HSR - A missed opportunity ——— The government is making a big mistake by cancelling the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.
The HSR is a strategic project between the Governments of Malaysia and Singapore that aims to improve their economies and elevate the quality of life of both countries through seamless travel between the two capital cities, enhance business linkages, and connect the peoples of both countries closer together. With terminus stations in Kuala Lumpur's Bandar Malaysia and Singapore's Jurong East, the HSR link is expected to cut the travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes.
The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air-route is the busiest international route in the world. There were 30,537 flights between both cities in 2017 putting Hong Kong-Taipei firmly into second place at 28,887 flights.
With such large yearly passenger numbers, there would have been a strong case for the financial viability for the project.
Beyond just passenger traffic numbers, the real benefit of a major infrastructure project such as this lies beyond providing the convenient of getting from A to B. This project has the potential to stimulate economic development along the rail corridors and urban development around the stations/rail terminus or better known as transit-oriented development (TOD). The many stations in between, namely Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri which are relatively less developed than Kuala Lumpur or Singapore would stand to gain from development.
It is forecasted the result of HSR would be no less than the economic multipliers that happened to the Taiwan HSR between Taipei & Kaoshiung and the Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo & Osaka.
At such, it is too simplistic for the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir to say that the project won’t be beneficial because it’s going to cost our country a huge sum of money and it will make no money at all from the operation as any potential returns from land value capture would pay for the railway project in the long run.
On the macro point-of-view, it is estimated that Malaysia will lose an estimated RM209 billion in gross national income (GNI) contribution an