Kuala Lumpur—The Malaysian government announced that they have not made final decisions regarding the long-delayed construction of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project.
They have requested for another six-month extension to review the RM4 billion (S$1.3 billion) project, making this the third request for an extension.
Both countries agreed to a 30 Sept deadline, but Malaysia requested to postpone the deadline for decision making by 31 Oct. Singapore’s Ministry of Transport agreed to waive compensations for the month-long delay.
The deadline has been missed again.
In May 2019, Malaysia agreed to reimburse Singapore an amount of S$600,000 for the suspension of the construction until Sept 30.
According to a report by The Star, Singapore already knew about Malaysia’s request for extension on Monday (28 Oct).
Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport reportedly was unable to resolve a number of issues about the construction which include the relocation of the RTS depot and which rail system will be used.
The Johor Bahru-Singapore RTS Link is planned to use a signalling system similar to Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast line Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).
However, it was observed that the MRT system could be more expensive to construct and maintain. Thus, Malaysia might be considering a “less sophisticated” system to reduce costs.
Singapore and Malaysia signed a bilateral agreement in 2018 proposing a cross-border MRT link connecting Woodlands, Singapore to Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru.
The proposed RTS Link aims to ferry more than 10,000 passengers every hour to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
Original target date for completion of the project is by 31 Dec 2024.
Earlier this month during Malaysia’s budget hearing, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng said that the government “intends to proceed” with the project as a “long-term solution” to the traffic congestion at the border.
Malaysia would have to pay Singapore around S$66 million should it choose to cancel the RTS project./TISG