The proposed rail link between Malaysia and Singapore is set to move forward, with both countries planning to appoint an architectural and engineering consultant for the Rapid Transit System (RTS), in a deal expected to cost around RM30bn ($9.7bn).
In November 2011, both the countries had sought a tender for a consultant to develop possible alignments and offer design for the RTS.
The move comes after the prime ministers of both countries signed an agreement in May 2010 to jointly develop the rail link.
Malaysia Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said that the HSR project is now in the second phase of a feasibility study, which looked into the corridors, alignment, terminal points and the stops in-between.
"This study will provide a more detailed economic impact of the HSR and its engineering challenges. This is expected to be completed by year-end." Kamal said.
"Last year, we completed Phase 1a of the feasibility study which looked at a high-level economic impact associated with the project, such as ridership and what the financial model will be."
The high-speed rail link, which is expected to be completed by 2018, will start from JB Sentral on the Johor side and terminate at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore.
According to a primary estimate, the rail network is expected to reduce travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore from six hours to 90 minutes, with trains travelling at speeds of 250kph.
Reports suggest that about 60% of the outlay will be invested in infrastructure development, including civil works and track laying, while 30% will be invested in rolling stock.