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Japan Supports High-Speed Rail in Malaysia

08 November 2015 Sunday, 12:31

Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii has pitched his country’s shinkansen bullet train system in his meeting with Malaysian regulators in Kuala Lumpur.

Ishii paid a visit on Thursday to the Land Public Transport Commission which is tasked with overseeing Malaysia’s first high-speed railway project that will be jointly built with Singapore.

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Ishii’s first trip abroad since becoming transport minister in October “is a clear message to Malaysia about the enthusiasm of the Japanese government on the high-speed rail project,” a Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism spokesman told reporters.

At the meeting with commission chairman Syed Hamid Albar and other senior officials, Ishii gave a presentation on Japan’s safe and advanced shinkansen technology and the funding available through entities such as the Japan Bank of International Cooperation or the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The ambitious project was first announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsieng Loong in February 2013.

The railway line is envisioned to stretch about 330 kilometres along the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, in a journey that is estimated to take about 90 minutes.

Syed said in his welcoming speech that Malaysia is now at a phase where it has launched a “market sensing” exercise for interested companies to submit their proposals about the project.

The exercise via a process called “request for information” is “intended to gauge market interest and gather industry opinion on selected commercial and technical aspects of the project,” according to a statement issued by transport authorities of Malaysia and Singapore last month.

“The feedback will inform the ongoing bilateral discussions and the formal tender process subsequently,” the statement said.

As of Oct 16, around 150 companies from across the globe have responded. The exercise is expected to end next month.

The spokesman said they were told that the tender will be called as early as next year.

Ishii is in Malaysia also to attend the two-day meeting of transport ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its dialogue partners — China, Japan and South Korea — that began Thursday.

 

Source : bangkokpost

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