QUICK COMMENT: IT'S HARD TO SAY whether news of the scrapping of the bullet train is good news or bad - for the disabled and elderly community.
If plans of the project had continued, there would be some hope that the high speed train would be disabled-friendly. Or would it?
Judging from the past, one could never say if the promises given out by the authorities for a disabled-friendly environment would come into fruition or not.
Remember how disappointed it was for KL-folk when the monorail turned out to be handicapped-unfriendly.
Whatever the case, I think the majority of Malaysians with disabilities would not feel anything about the loss of this latest transportation plans if the blueprint hadn't included accessibility features.
Without it, it won't make any difference to us.
Malaysiakini article today:
A proposed multi-billion dollar high speed train linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is off the cards due to exorbitant project costs, according to press reports today.
The decision by Malaysia's Economic Planning Unit, which evaluates and helps implement key projects within the country, comes less than a week after both countries said they were exploring the possibility of the link.
"The government will not go ahead with the project because the financial model submitted involves a significant cost to be borne by the government," the Unit's director general Sulaiman Mahbob told the Star daily.
The paper said Sulaiman did not reveal how much the government would have had to bear.
The RM8 billion train project proposed by Malaysian property and utility firm YTL Corp in 2006 envisaged top speeds of 350 kph, cutting journey time from about seven hours to 90 minutes.
Long term saving
YTL's managing director Francis Yeoh had earlier said the new train would save the government "tens of billions of ringgit" in fuel subsidies in the long term, the paper reported.
Last week, Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim and his Singapore counterpart George Yeo agreed to study the possibility of the train link.
Yeo said the two sides decided to set up a joint ministerial committee to explore the proposal after Rais raised the issue with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
It takes about five hours to drive between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Malaysia and Singapore's bilateral ties have often been stormy since the city state was ejected from the Malaysian Federation in 1965 over ethnic issues, but they have undergone a marked improvement since Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became prime minister in 2003.