Malaysia wants to spend RM5 million to study the possibility of building a third bridge with Singapore

The nine-month study will look into the necessity of a third bridge to alleviate congestion on the Causeway, as well as possible locations for it.

The third bridge between Singapore and Malaysia may not be coming so soon, but a RM5 million (S$1.6 million) study to look into its feasibility is on the horizon.

Malaysia’s Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said that the decision to build a third bridge will come only after the feasibility study is conducted next year, Malay Mail reported. Its RM5 million cost is an estimate.

According to Muhyiddin, the nine-month study will look into the necessity of a third bridge to alleviate congestion on the Causeway, as well as possible locations for it.

Any bilateral discussion with Singapore regarding the third bridge can only begin once Putrajaya approves the proposal, the Malay Mail reported him as saying on Sunday (Dec 1).

In addition, the study will look at upgrading the capacity of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complexes at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) at the Causeway and Sultan Abu Bakar Complex at the Second Link.

The facilities are “currently handling a very high volume of visitors” as “almost 70 per cent of the visitors to and from Malaysia use the Causeway”, Muhyiddin was quoted by Bernama as saying.

According to The Straits Times, more than 367,000 people now use the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complexes daily, with 254,000 people using the Johor Baru side and 113,000 people using the Second Link.

In a separate Malay Mail report, state Public Works, Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri was cited as saying that the BSI complex, which was built in 2003, will reach its full capacity next year.

As a temporary solution to the congestion, Malaysia is discussing a proposal to build a covered pedestrian pathway along the Johor Causeway that will cost RM30 million, Bernama reported.

Muhyiddin has brought up the idea of a third bridge most recently on November 25, when he reportedly said he was appointed by the Federal Government to head a committee to resolve congestion at the checkpoints.

“The third link does not have to be in the form of a bridge as it can also be a tunnel, ” he was quoted by The Star as saying.

Earlier in November, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had also mooted the idea of a bridge, saying he did not understand why Singapore did not want a third bridge built.

“We may improve efficiency but as long as there is no bridge, we will not be able to solve the problems at the Johor Causeway,” he reportedly said then.

“We want to build a bridge but Singapore does not want to agree,” he added.

At the moment, Singapore and Malaysia are planning to build a 4km Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link to connect the two countries.

The cross-border link will connect Woodlands North station on Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT line to Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, and is seen as a long-term solution to the congestion issue.

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