KUALA LUMPUR: There could be a change in the alignment of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore due to a request from the private sector to divert the line to Forest City in Johor.
It is understood that Hong Kong-listed property developer Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd is courting the government to build a HSR station in Forest City.
Country Garden has made requests to the authorities and stakeholders.
“Discussions are ongoing between the authorities and stakeholders. They are talking about the additional cost of adding a station in Forest City.
“The discussions will involve the Land Public Transport Commission as it will need a feasibility study. Whether it will be a revised proposal for the HSR project, will depend on the outcome of discussions,” said a source.
The source said Country Garden planned points of entry from Malaysia and Singapore, with a ferry and light rail transit network at the centre of it all.
The possible HSR station in Forest City would be the new transport hub for Johor Baru, similar to KL Sentral in Brickfields, the source told the New Straits Times.
The governments of Singapore and Malaysia signed a bilateral agreement on Dec 13 to embark on the HSR project. Operations are expected to begin by Dec 31, 2026.
The project will include seven stations in Malaysia — Bandar Malaysia, Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri — before reaching its last destination in Jurong East, Singapore.
In the current alignment, the train will depart Iskandar Puteri and go towards the second causeway, then cross an overhead bridge into Singapore.
“The same alignment can still be used, but the path may be diverted to Forest City before heading to the (second) causeway. The distance could be longer and will cost more for Malaysia. Singapore, however, will not be affected by this move,” said the source.
The 350km bullet train line (335km in Malaysia) will cut travel time from KL to the Lion City to 90 minutes.
The connectivity will allow businesses to be more productive, while the public can enjoy faster travel and a comfortable ride from KL to Singapore.
The source said the proposed HSR station in Forest City would cater to tourists and the 700,000 people expected to live in the posh residential and commercial enclave once the project was completed in 20 years.
Residents and visitors will have access to luxury lifestyle amenities, including hotels, retail centres, parks and leisure attractions.
“Country Garden expects Forest City to fuel Johor’s growth and the economy in Malaysia and Singapore. Therefore, having a HSR station there will benefit both countries,” said the source.
Forest City will be built on four man-made islands over 20 years. It is set to be one of the largest real estate developments in Asia in terms of the number of properties to be developed.
The estimated investment for the project is RM175 billion.