This article was updated on Thursday, October 31 at 5:53 pm
Can Malaysians and Singaporeans finally look forward to being connected via the RTS link?
The answer is yes.
After several delays since its inception in January 2018, Malaysia has officially announced its continuation of the RTS link project at a lower cost of RM3.16 billion (S$1 billion), Bernama reported.
“Details of the project would be discussed with the Singapore government,” Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir was quoted by Bernama as saying.
Earlier today, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke took to Facebook to rubbish a claim made by The Star newspaper that Malaysia was asking for another extension on the development of the RTS.
“This is totally MISLEADING and unethical journalism! You run the front-page news based on unverified and unnamed sources?”
“The prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is scheduled to make the announcement on RTS at 3 pm today in JB!” he wrote.
The Star had earlier cited unnamed sources as saying that Malaysia had asked Singapore for a third extension, this time for a period of six months.
In its report, The Star said that Malaysia wanted to consider cheaper alternatives to the proposed system.
The project was initially estimated to cost RM4 billion, and was expected to be completed by December 2024, but has been deferred several times – with the latest one being in September.
The RTS link project will not only improve the connectivity between the two countries, but is set to solve a long-standing problem that has been at the heart of over 300,000 Malaysians’ concerns: the traffic congestion at the Causeway.
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, while 113,000 people use the Second Link.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said during the tabling of the 2020 Budget earlier this month that the RTS link project is “part of a longer term solution to address the congestion” on the Causeway.
The 4km RTS link will connect Woodlands North MRT station in Singapore to Bukit Chagar terminus in Johor Bahru, and have a capacity of 10,000 passengers each way.
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