JANUARY 21 — I read the recent news about the signing of the bilateral agreement for the Singapore-Johor Rapid Transit System (RTS) with mixed feelings.
This is a long overdue development and I have no doubt it will make the commute between Singapore and Johor a whole lot more pleasant for many people.
But I am puzzled as to why the Malaysian government is spending money to build a new station at Bukit Chagar.
Prime Minister Najib said at the signing of the agreement that the RTS will provide “seamless connectivity” between the two countries.
If indeed the goal is to provide a seamless travel experience for commuters, then should we not consider using the existing KTMB Singapore-Johor line at JB Sentral and repurpose it for the RTS?
JB Sentral is not only the KTMB station that connects Johor Bharu with the towns and cities north of JB but it also houses one of JB’s major bus depot.
Furthermore, JB Sentral houses the offices of the Immigration and Customs department.
Therefore, would it not make a lot more sense to have an integrated travel hub by situating the RTS station within JB Sentral?
By housing the new RTS station at JB Sentral, the government will no doubt also lower the cost of development, not only by saving on the cost of building a new facility but also on the cost of acquisition of the land for the new facility.
In addition, it should also shorten the time to completion.
At this point in time, the only people who would benefit from the building of a new RTS station at Bukit Chagar is the construction company and all the foreign labourers that would have to be hired to build this new station (since we all know that there is a shortage of manpower in the construction industry in Malaysia these days).
In short, building a new station at Bukit Chagar is an absolute waste of public funds, especially since we have a fairly new and fully operational travel hub at JB Sentral.
This is yet another example of poor money management and planning by the current government.
*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.