Malaysia has announced it is abandoning the high-speed rail link project that would have connected its capital Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.

The decision was announced by Malaysia’s newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as a part of the initiative to review big projects in order to reduce the national debt, reported Reuters.

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed project is already out for tender. Last month, developer of the Malaysian section, MyHSR, selected two consortia for civil works under the project.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was quoted by the news agency as saying: “It is a final decision, but it will take time because we have an agreement with Singapore.”

“It is a final decision, but it will take time because we have an agreement with Singapore.”

However, the Singapore’s Ministry of Transport has not received any official communication from Malaysia on its plans to abandon the project, reported

The governments of Malaysia and Singapore entered a bilateral agreement on 13 December 2016 to develop this high-speed rail project to offer a faster transportation alternative between the two South East Asian countries.

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By GlobalData

The project would have enabled travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in around 90 minutes, with operations slated to begin by the end of 2026.

With seven stations in Malaysia and one in Singapore at Jurong East, the project was intended to support transportation and businesses in the region.

Mohamad added that Malaysia may have to pay around MYR500m ($125.63m) to terminate the project agreement.