Malaysia asks for six more months to deliberate on Johor Baru-Woodlands RTS Link

Artist's impression of the Woodlands North station, part of the Rapid Transit System linking Singapore to Johor Baru.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is asking for six more months from Singapore to deliberate on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) that will link Johor Baru to Singapore.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Malaysia needs until September to study how it can reduce the cost of the RTS and how the link would be utilised, Malaysian media reported on Monday (April 1).

He had estimated its cost at RM4 billion (S$1.33 billion).

Singapore's Acting Transport Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told Parliament in early March that Malaysia had asked for another extension of the deadline to March 31.

He said then that the RTS service is no longer on track to start operations by Dec 31, 2024.

The other cross-border rail line, the high-speed rail project to link Kuala Lumpur to Jurong West, has also been in limbo since the change in the Malaysian government in the May 2018 general election.

Mr Loke told reporters in the lobby of the Malaysian Parliament: "We are asking for more time from Singapore for us to study other options.

"We are asking for a six-month extension."

The RTS aims to link Woodlands North station on Singapore's Thomson-East Coast MRT line (TEL) to Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru.

Speaking about the RTS, Dr Balakrishnan on March 7 said that both governments are at the stage where they are obliged to jointly call an open tender to appoint the RTS Link Operating Company, or OpCo.

"In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore has been willing to engage Malaysia on its proposals for Malaysia's joint venture (JV) partner for the RTS Link OpCo," he said.

"Unfortunately, Malaysia has repeatedly delayed confirming its JV partner."

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