KUALA LUMPUR: An NGO founded by youths today suggested that both the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the company responsible for the development and implementation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail (HSR) provide details on their positions for the public to decide whether or not the project should be scrapped.

ONE president Danni Rais said the PH government wanted to discontinue the HSR project to help reduce national debts, expressing the organisation’s support for reducing these obligations.

“However, there have also been studies and announcements made by the previous government and MyHSR Corp that this catalytic project will potentially contribute a gross national income (GNI) of RM209 billion, in comparison to the cost of building it at RM70 billion.

“The GNI estimates that gains will be made from the appreciation of land, technology transfer, mobility of talent, creation of 442,000 jobs, tourism and increased economic activities in the locations where the eight stations will be built.”

In a statement, Danni said these studies had been done over years, and that the project was initiated on the grounds that the spillover effect on the economy would far outweigh the cost.

“Hence, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, we urge MyHSR to disclose the studies projecting the RM209 billion GNI.

“On the other hand we also call upon the government to conduct a study on the cost and benefit of the HSR that refutes MyHSR’s projection to justify the cancellation of the project.”

He said this was because scrapping the project would cost the nation RM500 million in penalties and the opportunity cost of RM209 billion in GNI, which would be borne by the people.

“In addition, assuming the projection of RM209 billion GNI stands and there is yet to be any study to refute it, it is only responsible for the government to explain extensively to the people, investors and stakeholders their decision to cancel the project entirely and forfeit the potential gains, as opposed to postponing it, or reducing the construction cost through more efficient management.

“This is to ensure that proper due diligence was done prior to the decision and to preserve investors’ and people’s confidence in the new government’s judgment, and that the decision was done objectively and not from a political motive.”

Originally published on Free Malaysia Today on Wednesday May 30, 2018.