JOHOR BAHRU: The decision to continue with the construction of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) project will be announced by the end of the month, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke said on Monday (Oct 14).
“(During) the 2020 Budget, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed his intention to continue the construction of RTS,” he told reporters after officiating the Johor Port Authority Week 2019 at a hotel in Johor.
“This is an indication of the government’s support for the project, but I cannot provide further details as it will be discussed and decided in the Cabinet within the next two weeks.”
Loke said he would contact his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan after obtaining the Cabinet’s approval, as the project involves both countries.
READ: Malaysia to invest S$28 million to ease congestion at Causeway and Second Link, ‘intends to proceed’ with RTS
“After that, we (the federal government) are confident that an official announcement will be made by the end of this month. We are committed to the Oct 31 deadline, so an official announcement can be made by that date,” he said, adding that he would propose for the announcement to be made in Malaysia.
Last May, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend works on the RTS link, which would address the traffic congestion on the Causeway, until Sep 30.
As part of the agreement, Malaysia had agreed to reimburse Singapore for the abortive costs incurred - around S$600,000 - due to the suspension.
The suspension was extended at no extra cost for a month, to Oct 31, after a meeting between Loke and Khaw in Sepang, Selangor last month.
The RTS Link will connect Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore, and is expected to serve 10,000 passengers per hour each way. It was meant to be completed by 2024, but is now behind schedule.
During the suspension period, Malaysia was to decide if it intends to proceed with the RTS Link project as it is.
Malaysia can also propose changes to the project scope, and Singapore will give any such changes due consideration.