Singapore welcomes Malaysia’s decision to proceed with RTS Link

Traffic on the Woodlands Causeway. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

UPDATE: The Ministry of Transport has replied regarding how the cost reduction by Malaysia will affect the scope of the project.

SINGAPORE — Singapore has welcomed Malaysia’s decision to proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link connecting Johor Baru and Singapore, the Republic’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Thursday (31 October).

The statement by MOT comes after Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said earlier Thursday that the project will go ahead after its estimated cost was cut by 36 per cent from RM4.93 billion (S$1.61 billion) to RM3.16 billion (S$1.03 billion), ending months of uncertainty.

The suspension period for the project was slated to end on Thursday, after Singapore earlier acceded to Malaysia’s request to extend the period from the previously agreed date of 30 September.

In May, both countries also signed an agreement to suspend the project until 30 September, with Malaysia bearing the abortive costs of suspending the project amounting to some $600,000.

“Both sides are now discussing the changes to the project, which Malaysia is proposing in order to reduce the project cost. As the changes will require amendments to the RTS Link Agreement, the discussions will take some time. Both sides are working hard on this,” MOT said in its media statement.

Where the cost reduction will affect

When asked by Yahoo News Singapore on whether the cost reduction by Malaysia will affect the scope of the project, a spokesperson from MOT replied, “On the cost reduction, the Malaysians are referring to their share of civil infrastructure (such as viaduct, maintenance depot and station in JB). Our side of civil infrastructure remains unchanged.

“We have requested for further details from Malaysia on their proposed changes, and are unable to comment further at this point.”

The four kilometre RTS Link is projected to carry up to 10,000 passengers an hour each way between Woodlands North Station on Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT Line and Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru when it becomes operational.

Its operations were originally targeted to start by end-2024.

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