KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — The government will not scrap the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS Link) project for now, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said today.
But Loke said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration will postpone signing the joint venture until the project’s feasibility study is presented to the Cabinet for approval.
The rail link project, to be undertaken by both governments through a joint venture between Malaysia’s Prasarana Bhd and Singapore’s SMRT Corp, is estimated to cost RM4 billion.
“The RTS Link will continue for now but we want SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) to review it to find ways to make it more efficient or reduce the cost,” the Seremban MP told reporters after visiting the agency’s headquarters here.
The new administration had previously said it would shut down the commission and place its operations directly under the MoT.
But Loke said the agency’s operations will resume as normal, including any of its ongoing research and development for public transport policies.
If approved, the RTS Link, an underway cross-border rapid transit system, would connect Woodlands in Singapore with Johor Baru.
It was among several rail projects lined up by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, which PH defeated at the May 9 polls.
The four-party coalition has since been pushing for a spending curb after it raised the alarm about the national debt.
All large-scale projects undertaken by BN have either been scrapped or are subject to review, including the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR).
For the RTS Link, the JV agreement between Prasarana and SMRT Corp would have been inked today. The former is the government’s public transport infrastructure firm.
Loke said they expected the report on the project to be ready soon.
“We will delay the signing to June 30. I have told them to finalise all the studies and prepare the report in one month’s time,” he said.
SPAD was the principle agency tasked with preparing policies on public transport. It also acted as an enforcement body.
The commission has 997 staff under its payroll and 327 of them are enforcement officers, Loke revealed.
The enforcement officers are to be placed with the Road Transport Department (RTD) under the dissolution exercise.
The government is still looking at ways to absorb the remaining staff, the minister said.