Thursday, June 25, 2015

Singapore - Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail

The High Speed Rail that has been proposed to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is being touted in its official website as another “transformation” icon for the nation. I quote: to meet growing demand, catalysing economic growth and enhancing long term economic competitiveness while improving the quality of life of its people. I am really lost in all these high-powered words.

The following is a map that is provided in the website:


The stations that have been identified in the website are the terminus station in Kuala Lumpur (at Bandar Malaysia), Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, Nusajaya and the final stop in Singapore.

Hold it, where is Bandar Malaysia and where is the final stop in Singapore?

Of course, with 1MDB’s notoriety now, everyone knows Bandar Malaysia. It is the “township” that will be taking shape in the hitherto RMAF’s Sungei Besi base. It is also where 1MDB’s TRX will be. But isn’t it logistically isolated from the other transportation “hubs”?

KL Central will be a couple of MRT/LRT stations away; the Bus depot at Bukit Jalil is also many roads away, so is the place where synergy is most desired in the first place: the KLIA!

Think for a moment, true, it will shorten the travelling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur considerably for point to point travellers (at the expense of MAS, AirAsia, Firefly and all the coaches that are serving the route today), but is this our sole mission? Don’t we want it to capture a large chunk of air traffic flows that are being enjoyed solely by Changi today?

If there is a direct high speed rail link between Changi and KLIA, wouldn’t travellers from, say, Indonesia also use the latter to fly out to long-haul destinations? The train between the Changi and KLIA will be like the shuttle service between any two of the terminals in Singapore?

Singapore has given its whole-hearted support to the project. I tend to smell a rat here. Singapore’s leaders are not a dumb lot. They must have thought through things. Their national interest will always come first. Bandar Malaysia and Jurong as terminals suit them fine. Their Changi is safe!

You have to take your hat off to Singapore leaders’ foresight. Has anyone wondered why their MRT trains do not run a direct service between Changi and Singapore’s CBD stations? Isn’t it very easy for them to do one? Why, why, why?

My crooked mind tells me that they have an “ulterior” objective, albeit a noble one, as far as their national interest is concerned.

Taxis are a major source of employment in Singapore!

But we Malaysian are always thinking of one thing: How to turn bare lands into gold mines! Of course, many have become filthy rich because of this ability.

Maybe I am totally wrong?

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