Malaysia requested the six-month extension not to review the project but to ensure that three agreements can undergo the necessary amendments before being signed by April 30, 2020, he said.
These are the amended bilateral agreement, joint venture agreement and concession agreement, said Loke.
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“Yes, we have requested for a six-month extension before we sign the agreement.
“As we announced before, the government has decided to continue with the RTS with amendments to the scope and structure of the project.
“We need to have a study and need to appoint a consultant to conduct a joint engineering study.
“We expect the new agreement to be signed before April 30 next year,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday (Nov 5).
Loke reiterated that the six-month extension came after a mutual agreement between Malaysia and Singapore for the project to go on.
“The suspension is to ensure that all these agreements are signed and for us to work on the amendments.
“It's not like we're asking for a suspension to decide what to do.
“The six-month period is not a suspension to review the project,” he said.
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On news that the RTS project will proceed with a 36% cost cut, Loke said that this is for the Malaysian side from the Bukit Chagar station to the border bridge.
On Oct 31, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the new cost estimate for the project would be about RM3.16bil, or 36% less compared with the original amount of RM4.93bil under the previous government.
“Discussions are still ongoing. We know the requirements of the Singaporean side and there are certain conditions we have to meet,” said Loke.
The deadline for the suspension of the RTS project was first set for Sept 30, but last month, the Singaporean Transport Ministry announced that the date had been extended to Oct 31.
The suspension was requested by the Malaysian government, which needed more time to decide on whether to proceed with the project or to make some changes to the initial proposal.
The project has now been suspended to April 30, 2020.
The RTS, which is aimed at easing congestion at the Johor Causeway, will link Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru to Woodlands in Singapore.
The project is supposed to be completed by Dec 31, 2024.