PM: Singapore to suspend RTS while Putrajaya seeks options

Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a joint news conference with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Putrajaya April 9, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a joint news conference with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Putrajaya April 9, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 9 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today Singapore has agreed with Putrajaya's proposal to halt the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project between two and six months.

The prime minister said Putrajaya is seeking alternatives that are better suited to the state of its finances.

“Singapore is willing to consider the suspension of the project. Malaysia is also looking at affordable and sustainable alternatives in the RTS,” Dr Mahathir said in a joint press conference after the 9th bilateral Leaders' Retreat here.

The RTS Link project has been suspended for six months from April 1.

In the same press conference, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said they also discussed the issue of congestion at the Causeway, with Dr Mahathir pointing out that the RTS Link would not solve the problem of motorcyclists entering Singapore.

“I said, yes we have to expand the capacity of the CIQs on both sides to process the people who are crossing because the numbers will grow,” Lee said, referring to the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complexes.

“Singapore has plans to expand our CIQ further and these are things which will take some time but they will eventually make a significant dent in the problem.”

On March 27, Malaysia requested for the RTS be delayed for six months, citing intentions to review the project’s scope, structure and costs previously agreed upon.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke insisted the RTS project was only suspended rather than cancelled, saying ticket prices was one important aspect being examined.

Meanwhile, Loke’s Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan also assured Malaysia that Singapore would also prioritise the RTS project, saying it was an important infrastructure that will make a difference for commuters.