JB-S'pore RTS rail project talks progressing

01 Nov 2019

On Thursday, Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that they will be commencing a cross-border MRT link project with Singapore. The plans will cost RM3.16 billion ($1.03 billion). 

Speaking during a press conference at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex, the Malaysian PM explained that Malaysia will be starting a rail project that will help to reduce costs by 36%. Officials from Malaysia and Singapore are working to conclude talks and discuss the plans proposed by Malaysia in order to secure and update a bilateral agreement, that was signed a year ago.  

The project, now revised, will have the Rapid Transit System (RTS) connected to Johor Baru, with the involvement of developer/owner of the Bukit Chagar land. Furthermore, costs are expected to be less as an LRT (Light Rail Transit) system will be used. 

A Singapore Ministry of Transport (MOT) spokesman said that the country agrees with the necessity of the rail link; “As the changes will require amendments to the RTS Link Agreement, the discussions will take some time. Both sides are working hard on this.”

The Malaysian Prime Minister stated, “Many from Johor go to Singapore in motorcycles. Unless you can put the motorcycles on the train, these people cannot have their motorcycle in Singapore.” He added, “We subsidise water for Singapore to the tune of billions of ringgit by selling water for three sen [1 Singapore cent] per 1,000 gallons. On the other hand, when we want to build a bridge, its objected to by Singapore.”

The national rail operator Prasarana Malaysia will not change its position from being a joint venture partner for the RTS, Malaysia's Transport Ministry confirmed. 

Operations of the MRT link are expected to begin by December 31st, 2024.