JOHOR BARU: Malaysia will meet its extended deadline set by Singapore, which is until the end of this month, on the Rapid Transit System (RTS).
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the announcement made by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng during the tabling of Budget 2020 shows the government's commitment and support for the project.
"We are committed to meet the Oct 31 deadline and will make an official announcement on RTS by the end of this month," he said when met after officiating Johor Port Week 2019 at a hotel here on Monday (Oct 14).
Loke pointed out that he would be suggesting to his Singapore counterpart, Khaw Boon Wan, to make the official announcement here.
He stressed that he could not provide further details on the matter, as the RTS needed to be brought to the Cabinet first within the next one or two weeks.
"The Cabinet will make a decision on how the RTS would be implemented and after its decision, I be contacting Khaw as the RTS involves both Malaysia and Singapore," he said.
It was reported in The Star that the deadline for Malaysia to decide on the RM4bil RTS project to link Johor Baru and Singapore had been extended by one more month.
It is learnt that the Malaysian government made the request for the extension during a recent meeting.
The initial six-month grace period granted by Singapore expired on Sept 30.
Sources said there were no financial implications on Malaysia with the extra time granted, but just for this time.
“If there is any further extension sought, Singapore will reserve the right to make backdated claims for damages after work on the project was suspended," said a source.
In March, Malaysia requested for a six-month extension to respond to Singapore on issues relating to the project.
Then in May, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend work on the RTS link until Sept 30.
Both governments signed a bilateral agreement last year to build the 4km cross-border MRT link from Woodlands in Singapore to Bukit Chagar in Johor to help alleviate congestion on the Causeway.
Malaysia wanted to find new ways to reduce the cost of the RTS, including getting the private sector to fund and operate it.
Singapore’s Transport Ministry had said that it was possible for Malaysia to defer deadlines and review parameters on the RTS project.
However, the ministry said this had to be done within agreed terms and with the mutual consent of both countries.
Khaw had said that the RTS link project was “behind schedule” as Malaysia had missed several deadlines.
The completion date for the rail link will likely be delayed beyond the original target of Dec 31,2024.