SINGAPORE: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday (Aug 30) that there is "some" plan to build a third link with Singapore, amid reports that Malaysia's southern state of Johor was in talks to build a bridge that could be completed in three or four years.
Singapore is currently linked to Johor via the very busy Woodlands Causeway in the north and the Second Link Bridge at Tuas in the west.
Asked about a plan to build a third link, Mahathir told reporters in Kuala Lumpur: "There is some plan in the offing ... there is already some plan." He did not provide any further details.
In response to media queries, a spokesperson from Singapore's Ministry of Transport said: "We have not received any official proposal or communications from Malaysia regarding a third link between Singapore and Malaysia."
Earlier, Malaysian state media reported that the Johor government was researching the possibility of building a bridge from Pengerang near Kota Tinggi to the Pulau Ubin island in Singapore.
The proposed bridge could help ease traffic congestion on the two existing bridges which link the two countries, said Johor's Chief Minister Osman Sapian as cited by Bernama.
"Yesterday, I had a discussion with interested parties about the possibility of a third link from east Johor. We observed that the area was close to Pulau Ubin - they were only about 3km apart," Mr Osman said.
Mr Osman said it was likely that the link would have a different customs and immigration system from the one used at the Causeway and Second Link.
"We may use a new system. It could be that Singapore and Malaysia's immigration checks will be conducted just once either in Pengerang or in Pulau Ubin," said the minister.
The project was still at the research stage, he added, and findings would be presented to the federal government to be studied.
Mr Osman also commented on the RTS link, saying that the project would likely begin in the third quarter of 2019.
"The design of the RTS will remain as it was decided before. It's just that presently, there is an overlap of companies," he said.
The RTS, which is supposed to operate from Bukit Chagar to the Woodlands North station in Singapore, is expected to be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour when it is ready in 2024.
Mahathir's comment comes after he reviewed a series of infrastructure projects with China and with Singapore that had been pushed by his predecessor Najib Razak, whose coalition suffered a surprise defeat in the May election.
Mahathir has suspended plans for a high-speed rail link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.