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Malaysia’s Mahathir suddenly axes high-speed rail link to Singapore

Staff Writer |
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he was scrapping a project to build a high-speed railway to Singapore.

Mahathir, who won a surprise election victory this month against Najib Razak’s long-ruling coalition, is seeking to repair the country’s finances, which he says deteriorated dramatically after the former government became embroiled in a huge financial scandal.

Mahathir said it was a “final decision” to scrap plans for the bullet-train line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which had been agreed on several years ago and was expected to cut travel times to 90 minutes from five hours by road today.

“It’s not beneficial. It’s going to cost us a huge sum of money, we’ll make no money at all from this operation,” the 92-year-old said.

Mahathir said he was not sure how long his decision would take to implement, adding: “Of course we have to talk to Singapore, we have an agreement with them.”

Asked if Singapore had been informed of his decision, he said: “I don’t know.”

Malaysia, he said, may have to pay as much as 500 million ringgit ($125.7 million) in compensation.

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