YONG PENG: The ongoing discussion on the proposed Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail project will not be affected by the controversy surrounding increased toll rates at the Causeway checkpoint, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The Transport Minister said the project was still in its early phase and both governments needed to agree on several issues before the project could take off.
“We are working very closely with our Singaporean counterparts. Among the matters that need to be agreed on are the operator for the high-speed train, locations of each station and financial cost of having such a service in both countries,” said Liow, who is MCA president, at a press conference after opening the Johor MCA convention here yesterday.
He stressed that the discussions were progressing “very well” for both sides, adding that the project was expected to be completed by 2020.
On Singapore’s toll rate increase at the Causeway, Liow said the Cabinet was quite worried over the matter, adding that this would be explained to the island republic.
“I, as Transport Minister, and the Foreign Minister will meet our counterparts and find a solution,” he said.
He said the toll collected at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) was meant for the upgrading of the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).
“Only motorists using the EDL pay toll when they enter the CIQ,” he said, urging Singapore to reconsider its decision.
The toll at the Causeway, which came into effect on Aug 1, is collected from motorists exiting Johor and entering the state within the CIQ, for the maintenance and building cost of EDL and other CIQ-related facilities.
On Sept 12, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued a statement detailing its new rates for all motorists, except for motorcyclists, entering and leaving the republic from Oct 1.