I’ll hazard a guess and say that Singaporeans are probably more excited than Malaysians about the KL-Singapore High Speed Railway, which is slated for completion in 2026 and will link Singapore to KL in 99 minutes.
Sure, the railway will enable our Malaysian cousins to cross the border and, uh… go to Universal Studios. But Singaporeans will get to enjoy cheaper and better food, cheaper and better massages, beach resorts and scuba diving.
But more importantly, Singaporeans and Singapore businesses are going to feel the effects of the KL-Singapore High Speed Railway on their wallets.
Here are five things that will happen when the High Speed Railway finally opens.
Singapore businesses might suffer
Many brick and mortar retailers have been struggling to make ends meet, mainly due to the fact that sky-high rents prevent them from offering good prices on their products. Singaporeans prefer to turn to the Internet because it’s cheaper and there’s more variety.
When KL is just a train ride away, Singapore retailers may suffer even more. Why buy your contact lenses or new iPhone cover in Singapore when they’re so much cheaper in Malaysia?
Of course, Johor Bahru has always been just across the Causeway. But it’s been an option open only to Singaporeans who own cars, as taking public transport across is considered uncomfortable and dangerous by many.
Singapore consumers will have a wider range of goods, services and entertainment options to choose from
The benefit to Singaporeans is obvious—goods and services that are cheaper or only available in Malaysia will become more accessible when the High Speed Railway begins operation.
This isn’t just limited to goods like groceries and Vinci shoes, but also extends to medical care, TCM and services such as haircuts, facials, massages and servicing of electronics.
Right now, people are already willing to cross the Causeway to hang out at hipster cafes in JB or play golf, so demand from pleasure-seeking Singaporeans is expected to be high.
Causeway jams will ease up a little
The flow of human traffic from Malaysia to Singapore and vice versa is huge on any given day, and over public holidays it’s normal to be stuck on the Causeway for hours.
The High Speed Railway should ease traffic somewhat, as some Malaysians might find it more convenient to take the train up to KL rather than a coach from JB when heading home. And it’s already a given that many Singaporeans holidaying or visiting relatives in Malaysia will opt for the high speed rail.
This will save those who still commute to Malaysia by car, coach or bus lots of time. What’s more, coach fares are likely to fall as demand plummets.
More Malaysians coming to Singapore to work
Chances are, you have more than one friend or colleague who speaks perfect Singlish, knows all the best local dishes and can bitch about the government like a true blue Singaporean—but is actually Malaysian.
There are hundreds of thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore. Some make the commute across the Causeway daily, while others have built homes and families here.
The High Speed Railway could increase the number of Malaysian hopefuls coming to Singapore to look for work., since a ride home would be much quicker for many. Working in Singapore while maintaining a residence in KL might also be possible for those who earn enough.
More Singaporeans will consider retiring and getting medical treatment in Malaysia
Retirement readiness in Singapore is a huge problem, and for many Singaporeans the option of retiring in Malaysia rather than working in Singapore till they die will be more attractive thanks to the High Speed Railway.
The Malaysian Retirement Visa enables Singaporeans to obtain a 10 year visa in Malaysia so long as they satisfy certain income requirements. Applicants over the age of 50 must have at least 350,000 MYR (112,383 SGD) in liquid assets and a monthly retirement income of 10,000 MYR (3,211 SGD).
The taboo of checking into a nursing home in Malaysia might also disappear when it takes almost the same amount of time to visit a relative in a KL nursing home as it would to go from Tanah Merah to Senja on public transport.
The number of Singaporeans who go overseas for medical treatment might also rise. Right now, Medisave can already be used to pay for hospitalisation in certain Malaysian establishments.
Are you looking forward to the KL-Singapore High Speed Railway? Tell us why or why not in the comments!