Johor-Singapore train link pacts to be signed July 30

This article is more than 12 months old

Malaysia says discussions on cross-border project completed, three agreements to be signed

Malaysia and Singapore will ink agreements to finalise the much delayed Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project on July 30, Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said yesterday.

He added the two countries have completed discussions on the cross-border project, first announced in 2010, and will sign three agreements.

These are the RTS Link Bilateral Agreement between the two governments, the joint venture agreement between SMRT Corporation and Prasarana Malaysia to constitute a joint venture operating company, and a concession agreement for the two governments to appoint this operating company as the RTS Link operator.

In a statement yesterday evening, Singapore's Transport Ministry said the two countries have been in intensive discussions on the resumption of the RTS Link project.

Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan, who is also the Transport Minister, said on his Facebook page: "Six months of intensive discussions, meeting almost daily, often late into the night, via teleconference in recent months, have come to a close."

Mr Khaw said there is now an agreed text on the changes to the project, for presentation to both governments for approval.

Mr Wee told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that the signing ceremony will be held on July 30 at the Causeway.

It will be witnessed by the prime ministers of Singapore and Malaysia.

The 4km RTS Link will connect Woodlands North MRT station on Singapore's Thomson-East Coast Line to Bukit Chagar, a planned elevated terminal in Johor Baru.

The current KTM shuttle train service will cease operating within six months after the RTS Link becomes operational.

Both countries had acknowledged there was a need to alleviate traffic congestion at the Causeway, which facilitates about 300,000 crossings daily.

Singapore previously said the RTS Link has a capacity of 10,000 commuters at peak periods, every hour and in one direction.

Mr Wee confirmed yesterday that it will be based on the Light Rapid Transit system.

Construction work for the RTS Link is slated to begin in January next year, he added, and the rail link is expected to begin operations at the end of 2026.

He said the project is estimated to cost around RM3.7 billion ($1.21 billion), which includes land acquisition and the cost of relocating a maintenance and operation depot originally planned for Mandai to Johor Baru instead.