End high-speed rail in JB

THE proposed high-speed rail should terminate in Johor instead of in Singapore ("End high-speed rail in JB? KL agency says it was misquoted"; last Saturday).

It took many negotiations with Malaysia before the customs, immigration and quarantine checkpoints were moved out of Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands.

Having "abandoned" the Tanjong Pagar railway station and the extensive railway track there, it is ironic that Singapore now wants to build another train station and railway track, and move the checkpoints back into the middle of Singapore territory.

Substantial public and private land will be needed, at a large cost, to lay the track all the way from Jurong East to Woodlands as well as to build the train station and divert roads.

In land-scarce Singapore, the land could be better used to build flats, schools, healthcare institutions or other commercial developments.

The high-speed rail is mainly a Malaysian transportation project to make it fast and convenient to travel between the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia and south Johor. Singapore should not get involved.

Besides not needing to incur large public funds for land and infrastructure development costs, keeping the project separate will also be good for the bilateral relationship.

Singaporeans who wish to take the high-speed rail should go to Woodlands, clear customs, then board the train in Johor Baru.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'End high-speed rail in JB'. Print Edition | Subscribe