KUALA LUMPUR: The High-Speed Rail (HSR) that is set to link Singapore and Kuala Lumpur may see an additional stop at Johor Baru’s Forest City added to its line, if Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings has its way.
The developer of the mega Forest City project has made requests to Malaysian authorities and stakeholders for an HSR station to be built in the township, reported the New Straits Times on Friday (Oct 13).
An HSR station in Forest City would make the area the “new transport hub” for Johor Baru, and cater to tourists and the 700,000 residents expected to live in the residential and commercial enclave, the New Straits Time cited a source as saying.
The source added that the relevant authorities are discussing 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,” added the source.
The HSR project is currently planned to 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 new route proposed by Country Garden will result in the HSR stopping at Forest City before it heads to the second causeway, allowing visitors and residents to have easy access to hotels, parks and attractions there.
“Country Garden expects Forest City to fuel Johor’s growth and the economy in Malaysia and Singapore. Therefore, having an HSR station there will benefit both countries,” said the source to the New Straits Times.
The HSR is expected to contribute S$6.7 billion in gross domestic product to Malaysia and Singapore, as well as create 111,000 jobs by 2060.
Despite potential changes to the HSR route, Singapore will remain unaffected by the changes.
“The distance could be longer and will cost more for Malaysia. Singapore, however, will not be affected by this move,” said the source.
The HSR, slated to be ready by 2026, is expected to shorten the travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to 90 minutes.