Learn from past cross-border deals (The Straits Times)

MANY in Singapore and Malaysia will undoubtedly welcome the prospect of another option which aims to cut travel time between both countries (“Golf club to make way for high-speed rail terminus”; yesterday).

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the high-speed rail link is going to be a long-term investment.

Therefore, the joint development should not only benefit, but should also be embraced by, future generations of both countries.

There are lessons to be learnt from the water supply and railway land agreements which were signed decades ago.

Despite the obvious benefits then, they entailed many years of negotiation and strong political will before both governments reached a resolution.

With the high-speed rail project, therefore, the authorities should try to avoid potential issues which may arise from transnational cross-holding (“Financing high-speed rail a complex task: Analysts”; last Thursday).

A possible solution is for each country to fully own and bear the cost for the infrastructure to be built on its land.

The high-speed link connecting London and Paris is a fine example of this equitable approach.

Each country will then directly control and be responsible for the construction and management of the infrastructure on its land.

Christopher Tang Wei Ling

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