Mahathir: Malaysia’s silence on HSR due to fear over market reaction

10 July, PUTRAJAYA – Malaysia has not responded to Singapore’s diplomatic note on its position on the High-Speed Rail (HSR) due to fear that it would cause a negative market reaction.

In confirming that there has not been a reply by the government, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the country is taking a cautious approach on the matter to avoid investors leaving.

“When we make decisions and announcements, the market usually reacts negatively. Apparently, it likes to be told lies about how good everything is.

“But if we tell them we have discovered a lot of wrongdoings (under the previous government), they react by stopping investment. That’s their initial reaction,” he told a press conference after attending the governance, integrity, and anti-corruption briefing, here, today.

Mahathir said while he noticed that many stopped investing upon revelation previously that the country has debts of over RM1 trillion, whatever decisions the government are making were for the good of the country.

Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday said Malaysia has yet to reply to the country’s diplomatic note sent on June 1 to seek its position on the development of the HSR, as cost continued to rise.

Responding further, Mahathir said the city-state should have already known Malaysia’s intention in regards to the rail project, going by their previous public statements.

“As far as the Singapore government is concerned, we have not given them a full notice yet. But they should already know what it is that we want,” he said.