KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore public transport operator SMRT and Malaysia rail operator Prasarana on Monday (Sep 25) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a joint venture company for the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link.
In a media release, SMRT said the firm, which will be the RTS Link's operating company, will be expected to design, build, finance and operate RTS Link operating assets such as trains, tracks and systems. It will also be responsible for maintaining and renewing the assets.
The MOU was signed by SMRT president and group chief executive officer Desmond Kuek, as well as Prasarana president and group CEO Azmi Abdul Aziz at Prasarana's corporate headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
The signing was witnessed by Prasarana chairman Khalid Abu Bakar, as well as SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming.
Said Mr Seah: "The RTS link will provide better connectivity to forge close people and trade links between our two countries."
Mr Kuek said SMRT is looking forward to working closely with Prasarana.
"When the Thomson-East Coast Line is added to SMRT's MRT network from 2019, we will work towards integrating the commuter's travel experience on our network with the upcoming RTS Link," he said.
"The RTS Link will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore, in addition to further enhancing our connectivity, and benefitting thousands who commute regularly between Johor Baru and Singapore," said Mr Azmi.
Some details, such as who will control the operating company, still have to be worked out, said Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
"We don't believe it's a 50-50 basis. Logically speaking, if it's 50-50, then sometimes there's deadlock in making decisions. Both sides agree and acknowledge the fact that one party has to take some slight majority," he said.
The design of the 4km RTS Link has yet to be confirmed. Last month, the Sultan of Johor had expressed reservations on the proposed design of the RTS rail track as he disagreed with its overall curve-shaped design, as well as the plan to build an elevated bridge. Mr Rahman Dahlan said on Monday that he has met with the King, adding that his views would be taken into consideration.
The cross-border MRT system was first announced in 2010, and ministers from Singapore and Malaysia said in July this year that it would begin passenger service by the end of December 2024. A bilateral agreement on the project is set to be signed by December this year and construction is expected to commence in 2019.
Singapore's RTS terminus will be located at Woodlands North station along the Thomson-East Coast MRT line, while Malaysia has chosen Bukit Chagar as its main terminal for the RTS. The RTS Link will be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers in each direction every hour when up and running.