Details of JB-S'pore rail link to be decided within two weeks: KL

In a photo taken on May 21, 2019, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan (left) and his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke is seen looking at an aerial shot of the Rapid Transit System Link site in Woodlands North.
In a photo taken on May 21, 2019, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan (left) and his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke is seen looking at an aerial shot of the Rapid Transit System Link site in Woodlands North.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR • A rail line linking Johor Baru and Singapore will proceed, with details of the project decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within these two weeks, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said yesterday in Johor Baru.

The federal government will meet the Oct 31 deadline to revert to Singapore on the details of the Rapid Transit System (RTS). An announcement will be made once talks are done with Singapore's Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, he said.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, when delivering the 2020 budget last Friday, said the Malaysian government "intends to proceed" with the RTS link as a "longer-term solution to address the congestion".

Mr Lim said it is a "pressing issue" to reduce traffic congestion at the two Johor land links with Singapore, which are used by more than 300,000 Malaysians daily.

The 4km RTS link would connect the upcoming Woodlands North MRT station in Singapore to Malaysia's terminus at Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru. Based on its original construction timeline, work was to begin this year, with the operational date set for December 2024. Previous reports said the RTS was to have the capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

In April this year, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to suspend the project until Sept 30, with Malaysia to reimburse the Republic $600,000 for abortive costs, while the Pakatan Harapan administration reviewed ways to lower the project cost.

Mr Loke had said the original plan to set the one-way fare at RM15 (S$4.90) is expensive for Malaysians who travel to Singapore daily for work.

Last month, Malaysia's Transport Ministry said both countries had agreed to extend the deadline to Oct 31 to decide on the project with no additional cost.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2019, with the headline 'Details of JB-S'pore rail link to be decided within two weeks: KL'. Print Edition | Subscribe