politics

Abe offers Malaysia high-speed rail technology

12 Comments

Japan Thursday offered Malaysia technology to build a multi-million-dollar high-speed railway and other infrastructure, as its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began a regional tour.

Abe's visit to Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines is the latest of several trips he has made with business leaders since coming to power in December, aimed at drumming up infrastructure deals.

The 58-year-old premier hopes to strengthen ties with Southeast Asian countries, a region enjoying strong economic growth and a potential vibrant marketplace for Japanese products and investment.

"Malaysia and Japan agree to cooperate in high technology with Japan providing the technology in the construction of high-speed rail, water and waste treatment," Abe told reporters at a press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

Singapore and Malaysia announced plans in February to build the rail link, which would cut travel time for the 350 kilometers between the city-state and Kuala Lumpur by more than half to 90 minutes.

The target year for completion is 2020. The idea was mooted in the 1990s but repeatedly shelved, largely due to cost concerns.

Malaysian media reports in 2009 estimated the cost at $2.5 billion-$3.5 billion. No new cost estimate has been publicly given.

Abe also said Tokyo would strive for "global peace and stability" and foster closer ties with Southeast Asia.

Abe and Najib also pledged cooperation in other areas, such as finance and security in the Malacca Strait, a once-pirate infested waterway separating Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

More than 85% of Japan's crude oil from the Middle East travels through the strait. Pirate attacks have decreased markedly in recent years since countries along the waterway stepped up patrols.

This is Abe's second visit to Malaysia after one in 2007.

Japan was Malaysia's largest foreign investor from 1980 to 2012 and is the country's third largest trading partner.

Malaysia has been trying to attract investment to achieve developed nation status by 2020 under a much-touted economic drive.

On Tuesday, Japan formally joined negotiations in Malaysia on forming a huge new free trade bloc known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The talks aim to create what would be one of the world's largest free-trade areas, encompassing parts of Asia, Latin America and the U.S.

Negotiators said in a statement Thursday after the talks ended that that they made "good progress" and would meet again late next month in hopes of agreeing on "more difficult and sensitive issues".

The statement did not elaborate but some countries are eager to protect state interests and sensitive industries, such as Japan with its agricultural sector.

© 2013 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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I kinda like the Malaysian rail system as it is. Great for traveling, with soft sleeping berths, cheap, around 30-40 bucks for an overnight journey, and wonderful curries and other delicacies in the dining cars.

Malaysia is not a nation of busy salarymen, however much the powerbrokers there would like it to be. Gas is cheap and so are domestic flights, not like Japan. I wonder if an expensive super fast train really fits the national character.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is on the way.. Lets all Asia unite and share the tech and freedom. Unite against the aggressor China..

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The water thing makes sense, the high speed rail link less.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The flight between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is pretty jammed packed with a distance of little over 300Km. That is about the same as Tokyo - Nagoya. The distance between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur is little under 1200Km again a viable HSR link distance. It not only makes sense it would probably become a tourist attraction as well.

PRC was drooling to get a piece of the action competing with Siemens to get a contract but now Japan steps in. This is going to be interesting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Obviously we can offer the technology but Malays need to pay for it, I guess that’s the main concern. Its good Abe is preaching peace since the last time Japan advanced into Southeast Asia it was mainly by force. Anyway, we’d need to be more careful about the Philippines, they are corrupt and greedy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think the normal trains services would be retained. The high-speed train would come in handy for those who need to do business in cities along the way like Johor Bahru. Flights between Kuala Lumpur and JB as well as Singapore is not that frequent, thus making commuting to and from these cities quite a hassle

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah I guess. How much would a ticket cost? Cheaper than plane maybe?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I kinda like the Malaysian rail system as it is. Great for traveling, with soft sleeping berths, cheap, around 30-40 bucks for an overnight journey, and wonderful curries and other delicacies in the dining cars.

I made the mistake once - perhaps based on reading Paul Theroux - of skipping the night bus and making the effort instead to take the day train from Penang to Singapore. 12 hours with the TV at the end of the carriage turned up too loud and a styrofoam box of crummy, tepid fried noodles for lunch. God how I wish it had been as you described it instead. That was how I had imagined it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"God how I wish it had been as you described it instead."

You should have taken 2nd class. You get your own private bunk with sheets and pillow, curtains and a reading lamp. Leave at dinner time, arrive in the morning. Pull back the curtain and see jungle passing outside your window. So even if it's a long journey you sleep for much of it and use your time efficiently. Saves on hotel costs too!

Yes, I can relate to a sytrofoam box with tepid food...had plenty of them in Japan, called "ekiben" or bento, as dinner cars serving hot fresh food were phased out long ago.

"I think the normal trains services would be retained."

Maybe not. I used to enjoy a conventional, overnight train to the ski resorts in Nagano. Leave at night, arrive first thing in the morning. Sleep on the go. But when they built the Asami Shinkansen, these services were killed. Ironically it's now more expensive and less convenient (no overnight services) to use rail for skiing in Nagano from Tokyo.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes, I can relate to a sytrofoam box with tepid food...had plenty of them in Japan, called "ekiben" or bento, as dinner cars serving hot fresh food were phased out long ago.

I suppose that would be relevant if someone had suggested that the food on JR long distance trains is wonderful.

I expected more from a Malaysian train with a restaurant car, but frankly the food on that particular journey was garbage.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Malaysia Govt has been accumulating increased revenue since it legalized Casino-hotels. It has enough fund to finance this train system,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They might still retain the normal train service, since I don't think they would built high speed rail to places like Perlis (which is on the north) or Kota Bahru (which is on the east coast) as it wouldn't be that cost effective. It has been ages ago since the last time I took train services from Johor Bahru to Butterworth. Might revisit the memory lane any time in the future

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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