By S Ramesh, Hetty Musfirah | Posted: 19 February 2013 1257 hrs

SINGAPORE

Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to build a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, with a target to complete it by 2020.

This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday during their annual Leaders’ Retreat.

With the new link, it will take about 90 minutes to get from Singapore to KL and vice versa.

The two leaders described the high-speed rail system as a strategic development in the bilateral relations, saying it will dramatically improve the connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore.

The link will also facilitate seamless travel between KL and Singapore, enhance business links, and bring peoples of Singapore and Malaysia closer together.

Mr Lee said: “It is a strategic project for the two countries. It will change the way we see each other. It is the way people in London and Paris are able to think of it — as twin cities, where you can commute, go up there, do business, meet friends, have a meal and come back, all within two thirds of the day.

“And I think it is going to be a game changer. It will transform the way people interact, the intensity of our cooperation and the degree to which we become interdependent on each other and therefore have stakes on each other’s success.”

The leaders added that it will usher in a new era of strong growth, prosperity and opportunities for both countries.

They said ultimately the project will give both countries greater stakes in each other’s prosperity and success.

Mr Najib said a joint ministerial committee will look into the details of the project.

He said: “Our two cities will complement each other. Our two countries will look at each other differently and the opportunities are boundless between our two countries.

“So I am excited about the project. We will certainly do our level best to meet the 2020 deadline. It may go slightly beyond that, but those are details in implementation.

“The modalities will be offered to Singapore. Basically, we want Singapore to participate in this based on the different kinds of options that we will offer to the Singapore government.”

– CNA/al