Malaysia-Singapore ink deal to pause RTS link till end Sept

Transport Minister Anthony Loke and his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan are seen during the signing of the supplementary agreement for the RTS suspension between the two countries at the PSA Building in Singapore May 21, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan
Transport Minister Anthony Loke and his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan are seen during the signing of the supplementary agreement for the RTS suspension between the two countries at the PSA Building in Singapore May 21, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan

SINGAPORE, May 21 — Putrajaya and the Singapore government today agreed to suspend the proposed Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link until the end of September this year to allow Malaysia more time to study the scope, structure and costs of the project.

For the six-month delay, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the Malaysian government will pay Singapore S$600,000 or about RM2 million as abortive cost before July 30 this year.

“The amount that will be paid to the Singapore government is about S$600,000 for the suspension period that will be until September 31 this year.

“The cost of the suspension is not compensation for the project, but the amount the Singapore government had spent on the implementation of the RTS project in the republic,” Loke told reporters after signing a supplementary agreement on the RTS suspension at the PSA Building in Alexandra Road here today.

Present was his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan.

Loke said the extra time will enable both countries to review the RTS project's approach and structure so that it can be more cost-effective.

He said the Malaysian government would be able to identify private companies keen to take part in the RTS project in an effort to reduce cost.

“We hope to reduce the cost of the RTS, especially regarding the one-way fare that was set at RM15 which is a burden for Malaysians travelling daily from Johor into Singapore,” said Loke.

He reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to the RTS project, saying the southern link will ease traffic congestion between Johor and Singapore.

Earlier in a joint press conference, Khaw said during the suspension period, Malaysia will decide if it intends to proceed with the RTS Link project as it is.

“Malaysia can also propose changes to the project scope, and Singapore will give any such changes due consideration,” he said.