China and Japan vie for Singapore-Malaysia rail project
Updated 2016-06-22 16:22:23
Visitor view models of high-speed train at the exhibition “Modern Railways 2016” in Beijing, capital of China, June 20, 2016. Visitor view models of high-speed train at the exhibition “Modern Railways 2016” in Beijing, capital of China, June 20, 2016. Visitor view models of high-speed train at the exhibition “Modern Railways 2016” in Beijing, capital of China, June 20, 2016. (Photo: Xinhua/Chen Yehua)
The open tender for the construction of the Singapore-Malaysia high-speed railway will be started next year, Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai has revealed to a Chinese business newspaper China Business Journal.
Several countries including China, Japan, South Korea and some located in Eastern Europe have expressed interest in the bid for the 375-km-long high-speed railway connecting Singapore and Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur.
“Malaysia welcomes China to bid for the project, because China has the most advanced technologies and we believe China could fuse the best technics of diverse countries. I have confidence in China’s high-speed trail technic,” Liow told the China Business Journal on Monday.
The Singapore Straits Times said in an April report that China and Japan were tipped as favorites for the high-speed rail bid. “The real big fight will be between the railway firms from China and Japan,” the report said.
According to the report, Malaysia, which bears the majority share of the construction cost, is in favor of a Chinese firm because China’s promise of easy funding for its trains and technology makes it less expensive than Japan’s offer.
Some media also reported Singapore is leaning towards a Japanese firm because it possesses abundant experience of train signaling systems.
Hu Yishan, a researcher at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University said safety and cost are the two essential aspects that are being considered.
“The shinkansen has been running for years in Japan. It’s easy to believe that Japan’s high-speed rail system is safe due to its mature technology.” But China’s high-speed technology overtakes Japan when its advantages of high efficiency and low cost are considered. It’s hard for Malaysia to make the decision,” said Hu.