An artist's impression of the concept design of the High Speed Rail (HSR) station in Muar, Johor which is inspire by the 'rehal' or book rest used. Pix taken from Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin's Facebook

JOHOR BARU: The unveiling of concept designs for the seven stations along the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) alignment on Tuesday, is expected to create much excitement particularly in Johor.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the designs of the stations yesterday, ahead of a public inspection exercise by MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd at the station locations beginning Nov 1, which will give an opportunity for the public to get a closer view of the project and provide feedback.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin took to Facebook to share photographs of the designs of the three Johor HSR stations in Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri.

He said plans were being made to build stations that will reflect the country's identity and heritage in its futuristic design concepts.

"The Muar station reflects the richness of the Malay culture and it is inspired by the 'rehal', the stand used to place the Al-Quran as students recite the Quran verses.

"The design symbolises the importance of education which has been ingrained in our culture for a long time, and how it continues to be the core of our identity today and in the future," said Khaled on Facebook.

He said that having the Batu Pahat station be inspired by the 'kuda kepang' dance, with its high roof designs reminiscent of a horse's outline, was significant as it was meant to show a balance between heritage and modernity.

"The Iskandar Puteri station which is inspired by the shape of a handshake shows the location's role as a regional city for trade and a meeting place of international standard.

"The design is also about the city's attractions and Malaysian hospitality," said Khaled.

During the launch, Najib said the HSR project requires input and feedback from the public to serve Malaysians better.

He described the project as a "key catalyst" in seamless connectivity that will drive the economy of both countries into the future.

Meanwhile, Seri Alam Properties Sdn Bhd senior general manager Frankie Tan Kiat How said many Johoreans wanted to know about the HSR and for it to be a success.

"By unveiling the design concepts and allowing the people to give input on aspects of the HSR development, it will give a reason for the people, particularly those from Johor to get excited about it.

"This latest news will allow the people to participate by giving their ideas on how the development can be carried out effectively," said Tan.

He said that more than anything, the three stations in Johor would spur trade and commerce in the second-tier towns of Muar and Batu Pahat.

"Unlike first-tier cities such as of Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and George Town, which are big cosmopolitan areas, Muar and Batu Pahat are among those towns defined as second-tier due to its moderate growth.

"Once the HSR stations opens in Muar and Batu Pahat, it will spur growth and create more jobs in these areas.

"Tourists will also be able to visit the beautiful sites in Muar and Batu Pahat within 30 to 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, and that is a boon to the townsfolk," said Tan.

The Malaysian and Singaporean governments signed an agreement on Dec 13 last year to build the 350km railway project, which links Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The project is estimated to cost around RM50 billion to RM60 billion.

The rail line will cut travel time between the two capitals to 90 minutes and is slated for completion in 2026.

The HSR will comprise of a 335km-long railway portion in Malaysia with the remaining 15km is in Singapore.

The HSR stations are Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, Iskandar Puteri and Jurong East in Singapore.

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