The Singapore Government has announced on Wednesday (4 January) that facilities for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR), the Cross Island Line (CRL)’s western depot and other transport related needs, will be located at the current site of Raffles Country Club (RCC).
The Government said that the RCC site is the most suitable location to run the at-grade HSR tracks immediately after the bridge crossing, and to place the tunnel portal leading to the underground tunnels that would take the HSR to the Jurong East terminus.
“The site will also be used for required HSR crossover tracks and a HSR siding facility to temporarily house a train near the border for safety or operational reasons, if necessary,” it wrote.
The Government added that RCC site is also required for the CRL’s western depot for stabling and maintenance facilities, as well as other transport related needs, which may include train testing facilities. Further details of the projects will be given after detailed feasibility and engineering studies.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has gazetted the acquisition of the land occupied by RCC today under the Land Acquisition Act, saying that it will work closely with the management of RCC and assist the club throughout the acquisition process.
Under the Land Acquisition Act that was passed in 1966, the government is given the power of compulsory land acquisition for public development. The act also regulated the amount of compensation to be given to landowners who had their properties acquired by the government Any disputes between the government and landowners over the compensation amounts were presided over by an Appeals Board. To further expedite government developmental projects through land acquisition, the act was amended in 1973 in order to curb land speculation and limit the cost of land acquisition.
The club has also announced on its website on Wednesday (4 January) that it has to hand over the 143ha site to SLA by 31 July 2018.
Raffles Country Club was opened in 1988. It has two 18-hole golf courses.
Currently, the club has about 2,650 members, with the members being transacted for between $32,500 and $34,000.
RCC is the second country club to be acquired by the Government for the project. In May 2015, the Government had announced that Jurong Country Club in Jurong East will become the Singapore terminus for the HSR.
The Government had offered Jurong Country Club S$89.8 million for the 67ha site. However, the club is asking for almost double the amount in compensation.
There is no news yet on how much RCC has asked for the compensation.
While the lease of RCC was due to expire in 2028, the Singapore and Malaysia Governments said that they are working towards commencing HSR operations by 31 December 2026.
When asked why the club has to move out on 31 July 2018, SLA’s chief executive Tan Boon Khai said this was because engineering tests would have to be carried out at the site prior to construction in the second half of 2018.
The Government also said that the compensation of the site will be based on market value for the acquired land as at acquisition date.
Most recently, at the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat on 13 December 2016, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak agreed that the HSR will cross the Straits of Johor via a bridge.