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Will High Speed Rail Improve Singapore-Malaysia Ties?

Relations between Singapore and its neighbor Malaysia have been prickly ever since Singapore withdrew from the Malaysian Federation in 1965. Prickly at least until the two current prime ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Najib Tun Razak struck a real estate deal in 2010 which resolved the problem of what to do about Malaysia’s last foothold in Singapore, a railway station near the heart of Singapore’s business district.

On February 19 2012, the two prime ministers announced a high speed train project which will provide a mere 90 minute link between the two countries, demonstrating that they were not just interested in fence-mending but in building much closer ties.

Both leaders clearly recognize that co-operation will bring economic benefits.

YTL Corporation proposed a high speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia in the 1990s

YTL Corporation proposed a high speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia in the 1990s

Carlos Abdullah sees the project as the first step in rapprochement between the two countries which used to be one.

 I view the railway initiative in the most positive aspect. This is the first major step among all others to the integration of Singapore into the Federation of Malaysia. Today, things are becoming much more clear as to where Singapore and Malaysia will be heading to. It is easier for Singapore to integrate with malaysia than for the whole of ASEAN to integrate among themselves.

The announcement is prompting Bertha Henson to consider moving to Johor across the Singapore border because of the cheaper housing.

When I grow old(er), I will move to…Johor! I mean, have you seen the stuff that’s coming up in Iskandar region? More importantly, did you read about what those homes could be priced at?

The announcements by the two Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia look like the best news in recent time. For both leaders, it’s probably great timing. Malaysia has a general election due by middle of the year. Singapore is screaming about lack of space.

However, she decides in the end that home is where she should remain, because she has voting rights. (Even if whatever she says isn’t loud enough to be heard).

Oddznns, who takes everything personally, says she's just glad that the journey to her mother’s home-town Ipoh will just get easier:

It would be an attractive option, at the right price.  The Malaysian part of my heritage has just become easier to access

Below are some reactions on twitter:

@bossming Looking forward to the high speed rail to KL becoming a reality, and for closer relations between our 2 countries.

@Avenflame New KL-SG high-speed rail: Now you can speed all the way to KL without having to dodge speed racers & paying off the traffic police.

@dayanaleto Singapore and Malaysia agrees to build high speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala lumpur. Only for 90 minutes! Amazing!

@prasys actually inter-state high-speed rail would be much more beneficial for malaysians – at least reduces bus accidents

@scamboy Malaysia can't even offer proper public transport but wanna do high-speed rail link to Singapore that cost RM13bil!

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