"It's early to sayÖ I would like to think so, we think we're well qualified. We have had a long relationship with YTL," he told reporters at a Siemens event in Madrid.
Hunter notes that there will be competing technology partners, notably Alstom, Japanese contractors such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Bombardier, the Koreans and possibly even a Spanish company, should the proposal advance to the bidding stage.
One possible route for the line is the existing KTM route, although this would have to be upgraded extensively to meet the load, power supply and speed aims of a much more advanced train.
The trains are expected to be much wider so there will be significant amounts of land acquisition, for which both governments will have to provide backing in order for the rail link to be a success.
The KTM route, for instance, runs into the Tanjong Pagar district of Singapore. Although the land currently belongs to Malaysia, it would be impossible to operate a high-speed train without substantial widening of the tracks and tunnels.
Additionally, there have been suggestions that the link connects KLIA, Putrajaya and possibly even Melaka, Hunter says.
He adds that the biggest engineering challenge would be in building the link to cross the straits.
As with most infrastructure projects, the resulting social and economic impact is currently being studied. If priced at an optimum, a high-speed rail, which offers convenience and time-savings, can be very successful in attracting commuters currently travelling by bus, car and air.
For distances of up to 600 km between cities, high-speed rails have proven to be very effective in pinching market share (gaining up to 80%). Airlines will probably suffer most on these routes as passengers save on travelling time to the airport, avoid the hassle of check-in and the discomfort associated with air travel.