Loke: Gemas-JB double track project to complete west coast electrified track system by 2022

Transport Minister Anthony Loke at a media conference after his closed-door meeting with Johor state government officials at the Bangunan Datuk Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar July 30, 2018. — Picture by Ben Tan
Transport Minister Anthony Loke at a media conference after his closed-door meeting with Johor state government officials at the Bangunan Datuk Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar July 30, 2018. — Picture by Ben Tan

KOTA ISKANDAR, July 30 — The completion of the Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-track rail project will be part of the wider west coast electrified track system (ETS) in four years’ time, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

He said the 197km track from Gemas in Negri Sembilan to JB Sentral was already 20 per cent in progress.

“The project would be completed by Oct 31, 2021 and by 2022 it will connect the whole west coast, which is from Johor Baru to Padang Besar in Perlis,” said Loke after a closed-door meeting with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian and state executive committee chairmen at Bangunan Datuk Jaafar Muhammad here today.

Loke said that under the plan, 11 new stations will be built in Johor to facilitate the project.

“However, the Johor government wanted to add more, which is between Kulai and Kempas for the double-tracking project.

“Any proposal must be sent to us to receive Cabinet’s approval first due to the increase in cost,” he said.

The RM8.9 billion Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking project involves the construction of 197km of double tracks, stations, electric trains, depots, land viaduct, bridges, and electrification and signalling systems.

The project, which was delayed due to land acquisition issues along the route, is now underway.

On a separate matter, Loke also touched on easing the notorious congestion at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor Baru.

He assured the public that the ministry was looking at a proper mechanism, including adding more Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) trips from JB Sentral to Woodlands to meet the demand among daily commuters.

“At present there are 31 trips between the two locations, but any additional increase will require the approval from Singapore’s authorities,” explained Loke, adding that an efficient ticketing system will also be introduced at JB Sentral.

In addition to that, the Seremban DAP MP said the ministry will look into the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to make it easier for Singapore registered vehicles entering the country.