GCTL8.com (FocusAsia Media Ltd)

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 (FAM) – As Malaysia and Singapore prepare to ink their agreement on a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and the city state, Japan has signalled its keenness on one of its engineering companies securing the contract, and voiced hope that the process – in which Chinese companies will also compete – will be transparent and “based on international standards.”

Malaysian and Singaporean officials will seal the bilateral deal on December 13. The tracks will run for 350km – 335km in Malaysia and 15km in Singapore – with stops at six other cities along the way.

Its builders, whichever country they come from, will work from 2018 to 2025, before launching commercial services in 2026. The project is expected to cost between 50 billion and 60 billion ringgit (HK$105 billion) – yet some critics have questioned whether the link is even necessary.