Not to be mistaken with the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) that Pakatan Harapan government rejected to commence the RM110 billion project, The Star reported yesterday (Aug 6) that Malaysia had agreed in principle to a separate project, Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link.
Upon completion, the 4km RTS link would connect Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru to Woodlands, Singapore. The link could transfer about 10,000 people an hour in each direction, The Straits Times reported that the project aims to boost the cross-border economy and ease the congestion on the Causeway. It’s reported that about 300,000 people cross the Causeway daily.
Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said that the RM4 billion project was delayed for two months due to the change of government but the nation didn’t need to pay any compensation to Singapore.
“The issue (compensation) does not arise because we have not signed the agreement yet, only involves an MoU (memorandum of understanding) that demonstrates our commitment, so there is no compensation,” he said, as quoted by Malay Mail.
The project is expected to be completed in 2024. Currently, the project is awaiting the Cabinet’s approval after going through a detailed report and study the cost of it.
“The government remains committed to implement the RTS project in terms of cost, the Cabinet approval is needed,” he said.
Once the approval is acquired, a joint venture company between Malaysia and Singapore would be set up to ensure a smooth implementation of the project. It was previously reported that Singapore’s SMRT and Malaysia’s national rail operator Prasarana Malaysia were slated to run the joint venture and begin the operation on June 30 but the Malaysian counterpart had suspended discussions with SMRT after the general election in May.
According to Malay Mail, Loke said the ministry was also looking for ways to increase the frequency of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) services from Johor Baru to Woodlands. He said, “At the moment, there are 31 trips and any increase will require the approval from the Singapore government.”
The ministry had also initiated a study to the use of Radio Frequency Identification technology on drivers with Vehicle Entry Permit. If the implementation is done right, it could smoothen the traffic flow at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex.