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PM Lee, Muhyiddin to issue joint statement on HSR project 'in due course'

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong discussed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday, ahead of the Dec 31 deadline for the second and final extension of the suspension of the project.

Both leaders will make a joint statement on further details of the project "in due course", they said in a joint press statement on Wednesday evening.

Mr Lee and Mr Muhyiddin "took stock of the progress of discussions, and gained a good understanding of Malaysia's and Singapore's respective positions" via a video conference call, the statement said.

"Both prime ministers also reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between the two countries covering many areas of cooperation and the sincere desire to further strengthen these relations for mutual benefit," the statement added.

On Nov 27, the Malaysian government said that it had yet to finalise plans for the HSR project. Its statement came after a report by news outlet Free Malaysia Today claimed that Malaysia was considering ending the line at Johor Baru, instead of Singapore.

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"Referring to some of the news published recently regarding the HSR project, Malaysia and Singapore are still in the process of negotiating on some proposals submitted by Malaysia to improve this project," Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed had said.

Addressing the report, Singapore's Ministry of Transport had then said that Malaysia had proposed some changes to the project, and that both countries are discussing them in good faith.

The HSR project was first announced in 2010, but was suspended twice at Malaysia's request. The first extension was in September 2018, and was set to end in May this year. However, this was extended for the final time till Dec 31 this year.

Measuring 350km, the proposed rail line could cut travelling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.

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