KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government will invest RM85 million (S$28 million) next year to address congestion at the Causeway and Second Link, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on Friday (Oct 11).
Delivering the 2020 budget speech, the minister also said that Putrajaya “intends to proceed” with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link between Singapore and Johor Bahru as a longer-term solution.
Mr Lim said it is a “pressing issue” to improve the congestion problem at the Johor Causeway, which is used by more than 300,000 Malaysians daily to commute to Singapore.
“To better ease congestion at the Causeway and Second Link, the Government will invest RM85 million beginning 2020 towards enhancing vehicle and traffic flow through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ),” he said.
“With this allocation, an additional 50 counters will be opened for motorcyclists,” he said, adding there would be streamlining of processes at the immigration and highway counters.
He did not provide further details.
The RTS Link, which connects Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore, is expected to serve up to 10,000 passengers per hour each way. The project was meant to be completed by 2024, but is now behind schedule with Malaysia repeatedly delaying confirmation of its joint venture partner.
In May, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend the construction of the RTS Link until Sep 30 at Malaysia’s request.
As part of the agreement, Malaysia had agreed to reimburse Singapore for the abortive costs incurred - around S$600,000 - due to the suspension. During the suspension period, Malaysia will decide if it intends to proceed with the RTS Link project as it is.
It was announced on Sep 29 that both sides have agreed to extend the deadline for an additional month, until Oct 31.