Recently, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in an interview said that Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. The details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks commented Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link.
Tun Dr. Mahathir said, "We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time."
However, a firm answer wasn’t received when asked about a land dispute involving a plot in Bukit Chagar, Johor, owned by the state's ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar. The Malaysian government is yet to resolve the issue, it seems. The RTS line would link Johor Baru's Bukit Chagar Station to the upcoming Woodlands North Station in Singapore.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, when delivering the 2020 Budget last week said the Malaysian government "intends to proceed" with the RTS link as a "longer-term solution to address the congestion".
Mr. Lim said it is a "pressing issue" to reduce traffic congestion at the two Johor land links with Singapore, which are used by more than 300,000 Malaysians daily. It was previously estimated that the RTS would cost RM4 billion.
Based on its original construction timeline, work was to begin this year in 2019, with the operational date set for December 2024. Previous reports said the RTS was to have the capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
In April this year, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to suspend the project until Sept 30, with Malaysia to reimburse the Republic $600,000 for abortive costs, while the Pakatan Harapan administration reviewed ways to lower the project cost Mr. Loke had said the original plan to set the one-way fare at RM15 (S$4.90) is expensive for Malaysians who travel to Singapore daily for work.
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