SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, are affirming today (11 Jan) their commitment to two transformative megaprojects, marking another significant milestone in the bilateral relationship between the neighboring nations.
The leaders have a busy itinerary today, attending high-level functions that hold strategic importance for both Malaysia and Singapore.
One of the main items on the agenda is to discuss the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project, a billion-ringgit railway shuttle link spanning approximately 4km with stations in Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru, and Woodlands North, Singapore.
Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd is overseeing the development of the 2.7km Malaysian segment and its associated structures, while the joint operations will be managed by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Singapore’s SMRT Corp Ltd.
Upon completion, the RTS Link will become the third land bridge connecting Malaysia and Singapore, potentially alleviating the notorious traffic congestion at the Johor Causeway.
Following the RTS meeting, the Prime Ministers will proceed to another significant event, where they will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the Johor-Singapore special economic zone.
The concept of the economic zone was initially proposed by Malaysia’s Economy Minister, Mohd Rafizi Ramli, after discussions with the Johor government in Iskandar Puteri in May of the previous year. Subsequently, both countries established a special task force in July to study the establishment of this economic zone.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi expressed optimism about the potential success of the economic zone, drawing parallels with the rapid transformation of the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Over the past four decades, Shenzhen evolved from a small city of 300,000 people into a high-tech international metropolis boasting a population exceeding 17 million.
In 2022, Johor secured RM70.6 billion in foreign investments across various sectors, with Singapore emerging as the state’s second-largest foreign investor, contributing to approximately 70 per cent of foreign direct investment in Johor’s manufacturing sector.
The establishment of the Johor-Singapore special economic zone is expected to further enhance cross-border trade and business activities, not only between Malaysia and Singapore but also positioning the region as an attractive hub within the broader Asian economic landscape.