SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to extend for an additional month, the deadline to decide on whether to continue with construction of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link without any additional cost, Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a media statement on Sunday (Sep 29).
The new deadline was set for Oct 31, the statement added.
Last May, the two countries had 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.
Malaysia can also propose changes to the project scope, and Singapore will give any such changes due consideration.
Singapore's Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Monday confirmed that it has agreed to Malaysia's request for the one-month extension "in the spirit of bilateral cooperation".
"Singapore has also agreed to waive the additional costs incurred by Singapore during this one-month period arising from Malaysia’s request," said MOT in the statement.
However, Singapore reserves the right to claim any additional costs incurred beyond Sep 30 should Malaysia request a further extension of the deadline, the ministry added.
The RTS Link, which connects Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore, is expected to ferry 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.
According to a bilateral agreement signed in January 2018, a joint venture company comprising Singapore’s SMRT and Malaysia’s Prasarana Malaysia should have been constituted by Jun 30 last year.
The joint venture company should also have been appointed as the RTS Link operator through a concession agreement with Singapore's Land Transport Authority and the government of Malaysia by Sep 30, 2018.
Both milestones were missed. Malaysia then asked for an extension until Mar 31, to confirm its joint venture partner.
In April, Putrajaya said it had requested for a further six-month extension from Singapore before making a decision on the RTS, to enable the Malaysian government to examine several issues including the cost of implementing the project.