Plans to develop a high-speed rail project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have been scuttled and that's likely to dent the potential fortunes of some that had stood to benefit from the massive endeavor.
Malaysia said it was scrapping plans to build a 350-kilometer high-speed rail, costing some $17 billion, that would have by 2026 linked Kuala Lumpur, its capital, with neighboring Singapore. Although Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had pledged to review investment during his campaign earlier in the year, the railway announcement was relatively sudden, coming on the back of the surprising election outcome last month and years of planning by both countries.
Singapore, however, has yet to receive official word on Malaysia's decision. In a statement on Friday, Singapore's transport minister said the country continued to incur costs as it awaited word from the Malaysian government.
When completed, the high-speed rail was expected to shorten travel time between the two endpoints of the line — which currently takes more than 4 hours to traverse by car — to only 90 minutes.
Even though construction for the project had not yet substantially begun, its cancellation is likely to have an impact on businesses linked to the project.