S'pore, Malaysia checkpoints must keep up with transport projects

After a 20-year impasse, the signing of the 2010 pact between Singapore and Malaysia, which resulted in joint property developments with a gross value of $11 billion, was a historic achievement in the cooperation between the two nations (Marina One, Duo 'symbols of strong Singapore-KL ties'; Jan 16).

The two nations are now engaged in the development of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link and the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail projects, which are scheduled for completion by the end of 2024 and 2026 respectively.

Their completion will take the relations between the two closely linked nations to a new level.

In the meantime, travelling by road to and from Singapore and Johor Baru remains troublesome and even odious on some days.

Travelling across the Causeway by bus on a Saturday morning could take up three hours. It has been this way for decades.

With the completion of the two new transport links, the volume of traffic is expected to increase a lot.

The RTS Link alone can carry 10,000 passengers an hour.

The checkpoints at both ends must vastly improve their efficiency to match the increased traffic if everyone is to reap the full benefits of this multi-billion dollar investment in the new infrastructures.

The two nations should also examine other areas where we could speed up collaboration.

Singapore and Malaysia could jointly invest beyond their shores, especially in the Asean territories, and contribute much more to achieving a stable, prosperous and cohesive Asean.

In this respect, they should aim to set an exemplary cooperation model for other Asean nations to emulate.

Albert Ng Ya Ken

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore, Malaysia checkpoints must keep up with transport projects'. Print Edition | Subscribe