LTA says the RFI marks the next stage of the project and is designed as a consultation exercise to gauge market interest and to gather industry information on selected commercial and technical aspects. The feedback will inform continuing bilateral discussions between both parties ahead of the formal tendering process. The RFI is expected to conclude by the end of the year.

The 330km proposed line aims to cut travel times between the terminus stations at Kuala Lumpur's Bandar Malaysia and Singapore's Jurong East to 1h 30min.

"This market sounding exercise marks a major milestone in our HSR journey. It is important for us to be properly informed of the industry views," said Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mr Dato' Sri Abdul Wahid Omar and Singapore coordinating minister for infrastructure and minister for transport Mr Khaw Boon Wan in a joint statement.

"The feedback is crucial in helping us refine and validate our options, which will in turn help ensure a successful tender process subsequently".

The governments of both countries announced in May that due to the scale and complexity of the project a revised timeline was necessary because the launch date of 2020 agreed by the two countries in February 2013 could not be met.