Malaysia says it will uphold RTS link deadline this time, with a decision by Oct 31

The RTS link project is “part of a longer term solution to address the congestion” on the Causeway. Photo taken on May 21 2019.
The Straits Times

Malaysia says that the rail link between Malaysia and Singapore will proceed, and details of the project will be discussed in the Malaysian Cabinet during these two weeks, Transport Minister Anthony Loke was quoted by The Star as saying on Monday (Oct 14). 

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said during the tabling of the 2020 Budget last Friday (Oct 11) that the Rapid Transit System (RTS) link project is “part of a longer term solution to address the congestion” on the Causeway.

Lim said the congestion is a “pressing issue” as over 300,000 Malaysians commute daily to Singapore using the two Johor land links. 

According to The Star, Loke said that Malaysia is “committed to meeting the Oct 31 deadline” and added that the matter has to be brought to Cabinet first within the next “one or two weeks”.

“The Cabinet will make a decision on how the RTS ink will be implemented. After that, I will contact Khaw (his Singapore counterpart) as this involves both Malaysia and Singapore,” Loke was quoted by The Star as saying.

A bilateral agreement to build the rail was inked on Jan 18 last year after discussions between the two countries’ land transport authorities. 

The 4km RTS link will connect Woodlands North MRT station in Singapore to Bukit Chagar terminus in Johor Bahru. It will have a capacity of 10,000 passengers each way.

Originally, the project was expected to be completed by December 2024, but is now behind schedule due to repeated delays – much to the unhappiness of many.

In May, The Straits Times reported that Malaysia and Singapore agreed to suspend the project until Sept 30, with Malaysia agreeing to reimburse Singapore an abortive cost of S$600,000.

At the time, the Pakatan Harapan administration wanted to review ways to lower the cost of the S$1.3 billion (RM4 billion) project.

However, in September, Malaysia’s Transport Ministry said that both countries had agreed to extend the deadline to Oct 31, at no additional cost.

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