Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Intern ... -the-rails
Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Intern ... -the-railsHow did such a promising project end up back on the drawing board? The issue was not only the financial burden brought on by the new coronavirus pandemic. Statements from government officials and media reports suggest that it was the Malaysian side that had reneged on terms of the deal.
The agreement was to pick a company responsible for providing the rolling stock, laying the tracks, and designing and operating the system through an international bidding process. However, Malaysia insisted on dropping this provision during negotiations to review the agreement.
The government wanted to fast-track the process to make up for the two-year delay. It also saw an opportunity to use the project to stimulate the economy after the pandemic. The government must have thought that if foreign investment was kept out of the project, local businesses would benefit.
But Singapore found the new terms unacceptable. Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in parliament after the project was scrapped that Singapore wanted to choose a company through an international bidding process to ensure that the interests of both countries were protected, and its removal constituted a fundamental departure from the bilateral agreement.
Immediately after the project was ended, Malaysia began discussing the construction of the section within its borders. But a senior executive at a Japanese consulting company was cool to the idea. "The project was attractive because Singapore was one of the terminals," the executive said. By prioritizing short-term interests, Malaysia has, in fact, sabotaged itself.