SINGAPORE — Travellers across the Causeway may be able to walk in comfort under an air-conditioned pedestrian walkway in future.
According to Malaysian media reports on Sunday (13 September), the Johor State government has sought RM30 million ($9.9 million) from Putrajaya for the construction of the 350m pedestrian walkway on its side of the border.
Johor State executive councillor for public works, infrastructure and transportation Solihan Badri was quoted by The New Straits Times as saying, “Initially, we solicited RM15 million for the project, but the amount was increased after a redesign, which will include escalators and air conditioning.”
“Under the proposal, the walkway will measure 350m and end at the border with Singapore,” he reportedly said.
The councillor added that the Singapore government is receptive to the proposed walkway, and may extend it on its side of the border.
“We have met with the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Baru and discussed the matter. Singapore is also keen to have the walkway as they are also concerned about those who had to walk across the Causeway,” Solihan was quoted as saying by The Star.
“Singapore consulate officials in Johor Bahru expressed interest in the project and asked for the design of the walkway so that they can submit a proposal to their government to extend the walkway,” he added, according to Free Malaysia Today.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 350,000 travellers used the 1km Causeway daily.
Last Friday (11 September), Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba said the country was looking to fully reopen its border with Singapore in January.
The decision on whether to reopen the border would have to consider people's livelihood, which had been hurt by the pandemic, he said.
“We must find a balance as both the economy and health are very important matters,” said Dr Adham at an event to pay tribute to frontliners in Johor Bahru.
As of 31 August, 320 people have travelled between the two countries under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) scheme while another 8,270 commuters crossed the border under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme, said Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad.
Both schemes were implemented on 17 August.
“Johor wants the border to be fully open for daily commuters and not just with the RGL and PCA,” Hasni said at the event last week.
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