Putrajaya seeks six-month extension to deliberate on Johor-Singapore RTS link

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during after chairing the National Transportation Council meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 5, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during after chairing the National Transportation Council meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 5, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — The federal government is seeking more time from its Singaporean counterpart until September to deliberate on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project linking Johor Baru and Singapore.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the aim of the extension was to enable the government to study the project’s cost which was estimated at RM4 billion, to reduce it further and how the project will be utilised.

“We are asking for more time from Singapore for us to study other options. We are asking for a six-month extension,” he told reporters briefly at Parliament here.

The RTS was among several rail projects lined up by the previous Barisan Nasional government, which Pakatan Harapan defeated at the May 9 polls.

The rail project was scheduled for construction this year and expected to be completed in 2024 to remedy the congestion woes of some 300,000 people who commute across the Johor Strait daily.

The project would cover four km of rail between Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru and Woodlands, Singapore, with the capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers an hour.

The RTS is touted to be capable of carrying up to 60,000 passengers an hour one way during peak travel times.

Singapore’s Acting Minister for Transport Vivian Balakrishnan said in the republic’s Parliament on March 7 that Malaysia sought another deadline extension to today as it needed more time to confirm its joint venture partner for the RTS Link Operating Company.

The deadline has been changed four times previously, from last June to last September and again last December before a new date on February 28.

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