The Malay Mail Online

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Italian companies keen for slice of high-speed rail link pie, vice-minister says

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Italian companies are keen to get a slice of the 330km-long Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link project pie.

“We are very interested in establishing contacts with the sector,” Italian Vice-Minister for Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, told a press conference after speaking at the “Italy-Malaysia Economic Forum” here today.

He said an Italian electronics signal company has had preliminary approach with local authorities and the country can share know-how from its similar implementations in Italy.

“It will be a fantastic tool to be deployed for Malaysia and Singapore. After Rome and Milan are connected by high-speed trains, there have been a surge in business activities in both sides,” he added.

Malaysia and Singapore early this year announced a plan to build the rail link by 2020.

Costing about RM40 billion, the project is expected to cut the journey between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes.

In addition to Italy, China is also keen to participate in the mega project. China President Xi Jinping had said during a state visit to Malaysia in early October that the high-speed rail and other port development projects were on top of China firms overseas investment ventures.

Meanwhile, Italy is also interested in investing in other sectors in Malaysia that include consumer goods, green chemicals, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

Carlo said an Italian pharmaceutical firm is talking to a Malaysian partner for a possible joint venture.

Through investments in Malaysia, Italy wants to gain wider access to the booming Asean market, he added.

The forum is part of a two-day 100-member Italian delegation to Malaysia to explore business opportunities. — Bernama