Malaysia and Singapore on Sun (29 Sep) have agreed to extend the deadline on the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) project to the end of this month.
Bernama reported Malaysia’s Transport Ministry as saying that the deadline was extended without incurring any extra cost.
In response to media queries, Singapore’s Transport Ministry said that it has agreed to Malaysia’s request for the extension “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation”, adding that it has “agreed to waive the additional cost incurred by Singapore during the one-month period”.
Singapore, however, has “reserved the right to claim any additional cost incurred beyond Sept 30, 2019” in the event that Malaysia submits further requests to extend the suspension period.
The RTS Link project was proposed as a means of dealing with traffic congestion for those who commute daily between Johor and Singapore.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke however said that under the original agreement, the single-journey fare was set at RM15 (S$4.95), which he suggested would be too high a fare for Malaysians travelling every day to and fro between the two countries for work.
Previously in Aug, it was reported that Malaysia and Singapore had reached “some sort of understanding””on the RTS Link project.
Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke told reporters following the 4th Annual China-Malaysia Port Alliance Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on that updates on the project are on the way, and that the governments of both countries are “closely behind the scene”.
“We know the RTS is important. In fact, I met with Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan last month [July].
“We have some sort of understanding, but we need to work out the details,” he said.
In Mar, Vivian Balakrishnan, Acting Minister for Transport at the time, told Parliament that the RTS link project between Bukit Chagar in JB and Woodlands North station on Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT Line is “no longer on track” contrary to its original scheduled operations start date on 31 Dec 2024.
His statement was made in response to Jurong GRC Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng’s question regarding the status of the project during a parliamentary debate on MOT’s budget.
TODAY reported that the deadline has already been shifted four times previously, namely “from last June to September, then to two dates in December before settling on Feb 28”.
The formation of a joint venture company by Singapore’s SMRT and Malaysia’s public transportation company Prasarana Malaysia Berhad was slated to take place in June last year, TODAY observed.
However, Malaysia had plans to replace Prasarana, which leaves the concession agreement between Singapore’s Land Transport Authority and its Malaysian counterpart, which was meant to be signed by 30 Sep last year, hanging.
“In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore has been willing to engage Malaysia on its proposals for Malaysia’s joint venture (JV) partner for the RTS Link OpCo,” said Balakrishnan.
“Unfortunately, Malaysia has repeatedly delayed confirming its JV partner,” he added.
In Jan, Khaw said in a written response to a parliamentary question from Mr Ang that the project was “not progressing well” as “milestones have been missed”.