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Najib: Japan welcome to submit HSR bid

TOKYO: Japan is welcome to bid for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project but the final decision rests with the Malaysia and Singapore governments, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Najib, winding up his working visit to Japan, said he sensed that the “whole weight” of the Japanese government and the corporate sector was leaning towards convincing both governments to accept the Shinkansen bullet train model as the choice.

He said a team of international third-party experts would be appointed to evaluate the tender objectively before referring it back to the two governments for the final decision.

“We are committed to ensuring the integrity of the tender process,” he told the Malaysian media here.

“We cannot pre-judge who is going to win at this stage.” Najib said potential bidders should allow the due tender process to take place in an objective, transparent and open manner.

He said the final selection would be based on the so-called “availability payment” over a period of 25 years, taking into account the life cycle cost of the project and the financial package that could be offered.

“There are other various elements, one of which is the comfort of the passengers.”

Najib said he and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong would witness the signing of the bilateral agreement to develop the HSR project in Johor Bahru on Dec 5.

Japan is aggressively courting Malaysia and Singapore to opt for the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train system, which has been in operation in Japan for the last 52 years and which has been exported to Taiwan, and soon India.

Japan is rivalling Chinese, South Korean and European HSR makers for the huge slice of the KL-Singapore HSR project, valued at between RM60 billion and RM65 billion.

Abe said yesterday the matter was raised during his bilateral talks with Najib.

“We had a very good discussion on the high-speed railway programme between Malaysia and Singapore and I expressed strong expectation regarding the adoption of Japan’s bullet train technology,” he said.-nst

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