Private firm Global Rail, along with its Chinese partner, has submitted a nearly $8.3bn plan to the Malaysian Ministry of Finance to build a high-speed railway and inter-modal freight system in the country.

The system would link economic corridors to major airports and seaports and would be carried out in four phases over a decade.

Global Rail managing director Fan Boon Heng said the project is a private finance initiative with China Infraglobe Consortium, which has the funds to carry it out.

“The plan is in line with the government’s 2020 National Physical Plan on Transportation and has the potential to make Malaysia a regional logistics hub for Asean and be the southern gateway to the overland logistics rapid freight system for China and Europe,” Fan said.

The project’s first phase involves laying tracks from Johor Baru to Gemas and the second phase involves laying tracks from Gemas to Tumpat in Kelantan.

Tracks from Kluang will be laid to connect the KL International Airport, Port Klang and the Port Klang Free Zone in Selangor in the third phase and PKFZ to Perlis to the Thai border in the fourth phase.

Meanwhile, the project’s Chinese partner has said that it will move the funds to either Thailand or Indonesia if the Malaysian government does not give its approval by the end of this year.