PETALING JAYA: The suspension of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project has been extended to April 30,2020, reports Channel News Asia (CNA) quoting Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
While the project would be going ahead, Malaysia was not yet ready to share the details of their proposed changes with Singapore, CNA reported Khaw as saying in a written response to parliamentary questions about the RTS by MP Ang Wei Neng.
"Without the details, Malaysia's proposal is incomplete and Singapore is unable to make a thorough assessment of the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposal."
Khaw said in his written response that on Oct 29, Malaysia had requested a further extension of the suspension period by six months to April 30,2020.
"In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore agreed to Malaysia's request to further extend the suspension period," said Khaw.
The Star had reported on Oct 31 that Malaysia was seeking another six-month extension to review the RM4bil project.
In May, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend the construction of the RTS Link until Sept 30 at Malaysia's request, with the deadline then extended for another month until Oct 31, where Malaysia announced that the project would proceed.
"Singapore welcomes Malaysia's decision to proceed with the RTS Link Project. This is a mutually beneficial project for both countries.
"The RTS Link will significantly ease Causeway congestion, facilitate business and tourism, and bring our people closer together," said Khaw.
"While we are not obliged to accept Malaysia's proposed changes, we will continue to keep an open mind and assess them carefully and objectively," he added.
Khaw also said that both sides were discussing changes to the project, which would require amendments to the RTS Link Bilateral Agreement.
At present, more than 367,000 people use the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex daily, with 254,000 of them at the Johor Baru side and 113,000 at the Second Link.
Both governments signed a bilateral agreement last year to build the cross-border MRT link from Woodlands in Singapore to Bukit Chagar in Johor to help alleviate congestion at the Causeway.
Under the proposal, the RTS will have two stations, with the Singapore terminus located at Woodlands North and the Malaysia terminus at Bukit Chagar.
Both stations will have co-located Singaporean and Malaysian customs, immigration and quarantine facilities.
Initially targeted for completion by Dec 31,2024, the RTS will be the second rail link between the two countries after the KTM Tebrau shuttle service.
However, the agreement with Singapore spells out that the KTM shuttle train service will have to cease operating within six months after the RTS starts operating.