HSR project postponement: How it affects workers

Singapore and Malaysia are shelving the high speed rail project till 2020. HRD reports how staff are affected

HSR project postponement: How it affects workers

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project was announced with much fanfare just one year ago. Both economies were anticipating the creation of 111,000 jobs between 2017 and 2060, with one official calling it “a game changer”.

Fast forward to today, work on the proposed $6.7billion rail system has been postponed toend May 2020, with services targeted to run by January 2031.

Besides the $15million penalty incurred by Malaysian authorities for deciding to back out of the initial plan, the two nations will also have to deal with workers tasked to take charge of the project.

In Singapore, a team of more than 100 specialists were hired by the country’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) to work on the HSR. What happens to the employees before the project resumes in two years’ time?

“During the period of suspension, SG HSR staff will be offered alternative job roles in LTA,” said a representative of the government agency in charge of the project.

“We are confident that they will continue to contribute effectively in the LTA family…during this suspension period.”

During the suspension, SG HSR also said it will continue to work closely with government agencies and external stakeholders to manage operations, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Confirmation of HSR’s postponement comes just after Malaysia announced the deferment of a massive internal railway project, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

For the ECRL, workers involved were shocked when news broke, with some staff saying top management did not communicate about the project’s “actual status” and felt they were “left in the dark” over the matter.

Other reports stated that half of the workforce were already retrenched in July and foreign workers affected by the layoffs have been “told to leave”.

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