Kuala Lumpur— Dr Wee Ka Siong, the Transport Minister of Malaysia, said at a press conference on Tuesday (July 21) that an agreement finalizing the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link has been reached by Singapore and Malaysia.

Dr Wee confirmed that the signing of the agreement will take place on July 30 at the Johor-Singapore Causeway (Tambak Johor), and will be attended by Muhyiddin Yassin and Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore, respectively.

The Minister also said in a parliamentary oral reply that since the negotiations for the link project have been completed, three documents will be signed by both parties—a bilateral agreement, a concession agreement, and finally, an agreement to form a joint venture company that would operate the rail line.

Dr Wee had said this in answer to Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir, an MP from Johor Bahru, who had asked for an update on the RTS project, which was planned long ago but has been delayed.

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He added that after the required approvals have been given, the project is expected to begin construction by January of next year and is scheduled for completion five years hence, by the end of 2026.

The Malaysian Transport Minister explained that construction will take place in two phases, the first being the development and civil phase that will occur from 2021 to end of 2024, and then the commissioning and testing phase, which will occur from 2025 through the end of 2026, Channel NewsAsia says.

Dr Wee later told members of the media that the RTS link is expected to cost RM3.7 billion (S$1.206 billion), with the costs for the relocation of the depot from Mandai, Singapore, to Johor Bahru added in. And while the project was originally said to only cost RM3.16 billion (S$1 billion), the additional RM500 million needed for constructing the depot at Johor Bahru will be shouldered by the government of Malaysia.

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“For maintenance purposes, we will be building a track from Bukit Chagar to Wadi Hana. There will also be an acquisition of private lands for this purpose. Besides that, the depot will have security features as per the requirements of both countries,” the Minister said.

The link is perceived to be an important solution to persistent traffic problems on the Causeway between Singapore and Malaysia, which is used by around 300,000 people daily, the majority of whom are Malaysians who commute to Singapore to work. It was scheduled for completion in 2024. It has the capacity to transport around 10,000 passengers each way, which would serve to greatly lessen traffic congestion problems on the Causeway. —/TISG

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