Enhancing sea connectivity


Scores of vehicles moving slowly into the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex via the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) in Johor Baru during a festive period. — filepic

Scores of vehicles moving slowly into the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex via the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) in Johor Baru during a festive period. — filepic

JOHOR BARU: The time is right for Malaysia and Singapore to look into new ways to enhance connectivity via sea, either through a ferry or water taxi service in the south.

International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah said both the present land crossings along with the rail link were running at optimal capacity.

“Why not start a ferry service using two of the closest links between Malaysia and Singapore.

“At the moment, water taxis from Malaysia will take almost an hour to reach Singapore’s Harbour Front area. Let us look at something closer between Medini and Jurong,” he said when contacted.

Puah said there was already a private company willing to undertake this initiative.

He added that he would be discussing the marine connectivity with Singapore soon.

Puah said ferry services that take about 30 minutes between both countries would encourage people to use the service instead of being stuck at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) for long periods.

“I hope Singapore will be open to discuss this matter.

“We have been getting a lot of complaints about our CIQs which are always congested.

“There should be better coordination on opening immigration booths between both countries,” Puah added.

He expressed his sympathy with people from both sides who have to endure long waiting times at both checkpoints, especially during peak hours, festive seasons or long holidays. He added that the Tebrau Shuttle rail link between Malaysia and Singapore was also running at maximum capacity now.

When asked about the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS Link) project, he said the project was vital and he hoped it would be ready before 2024.

“We need this project to help reduce congestion and improve connectivity between both countries,” he said.

Puah hoped that all the issues with regards to the RTS Link project would be ironed out as soon as possible and the project would commence soon.

The 4.2km Johor Baru-Singapore RTS is said to have the capacity to carry 10,000 commuters per hour or 72,000 people daily.

Asked whether a third land crossing between both countries was also being considered, he said a marine crossing was being explored first, as any land crossings would require a huge investment.