JB-Singapore RTS link to operate by the end of 2026, says transport minister

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 21, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 21, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The construction of Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) is expected to start in January 2021 with the expected operation date by the end of 2026, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said today.

He told the Parliament that the signing ceremony of the three related agreements between Malaysia and Singapore has been scheduled for July 30 at the Causeway, and will be witnessed by both country’s prime ministers.

“The construction of this RTS Link is expected to begin soon after the appropriate approvals were obtained in January 2021 and is expected to start operating at the end of 2026,” he said during Question Time. 

“The construction of this RTS Link will continue in two phases namely from the beginning of 2021 to the end of 2024 phase of development and construction of civil structures. 

“While from the beginning of 2025 to the end of 2026 is the phase of system construction such as signaling, rolling stock, telecommunications, commissioning and also system testing,” he added.

Wee was responding to Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir’s (Johor Baru-PKR) question on the latest status of negotiations between Malaysia and Singapore over the RTS project.

Originally meant to be completed by end of 2024, the 4-km rail link that connects Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru to Woodlands in Singapore is expected to ferry up to 10,000 passengers per hour, one way.

Last week, CGS-CIMB Research said the conclusion of the RTS bilateral agreement in end of July may be a prelude to a likely favourable outcome at the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail’s (HSR) end-2020 review deadline.

The RM3.2 billion revised project cost for the cross-border rail transit line (RM4.9 billion original cost) is miniscule versus urban rail systems like LRT 3 (RM16.6 billion) and MRT 2 (RM31 billion).

Wee had also met with the Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad on July 10 to discuss the issue.

The JB-Singapore RTS was approved and launched in 2018 but was reviewed by the previous Pakatan Harapan government, which led to its deferment, similar to the KL-Singapore HSR project.

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