Seamless link in the works

Smooth operation: Johor Baru Hakka Association chairman Chong Khoon Quck (centre) briefing Dr Wee (right) and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College board of governors chairman Tan Sri Liow Tiong Lai (left) on the upcoming building development at Jalan Tampoi, Johor Baru. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Discussions between the federal and state governments to look into the public transport facilities beyond the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) need to be held to ensure smoother traffic flow here in the future, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

As the project was set for completion by the end of 2026 and operations expected to commence on Jan 1 the following year, there is a need to further disperse traffic coming and going via the railway shuttle link, said the Transport Minister.

“Once operational, we can expect 10,000 passengers per hour travelling between Johor Baru and Singapore, and this calls for us to look at the links to other destinations beyond the RTS Link.

“We have plans in place already for the Rapid Bus Transit and the free bus service programme, Stage Bus Service Transformation, to areas such as the Kota Tinggi, Kulai, Gelang Patah and Pontian corridors, which are happening in the next two to three years.

“But we also need to look at other links for a more seamless connectivity to the nearest interchange or destinations so the people can opt for other modes of transport,” he said after visiting the Johor Baru Hakka Association’s new building development at Jalan Tampoi here yesterday.

Dr Wee added that the RTS Link progress is more than 10% completed where the immediate tasks are to relocate the utility services at the site.

“I believe in the coming 30 months, the civil structure can be completed and subsequent period will be dedicated to the system and signalling works, rolling stock and customs, immigration and quarantine issues, which will run concurrently.

“I had a discussion with the Singapore Transport Minister last week and he told me that their progress is ongoing, too,” he added.

He said the RTS Link would have a huge impact on Johoreans as the frequent trips would improve ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

“This is especially for those who commute daily to the island republic for work as well as tourists who visit Johor Baru for spending and tourism purposes.”

The RTS Link project is a railway shuttle link approximately 4km in length with two stations – one in Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru, and the other in Woodlands, Singapore.

It will provide easy and comfortable transportation between Johor Baru and Singapore in just five minutes.

The project, which was initially meant to be completed in 2024, was suspended and later resumed on July 30, 2020.

On the Hakka Association’s 63,800 sq ft development, Dr Wee, who is also MCA president, said it has the potential to become another tourism attraction for Johor.

Besides the Johor Ancient Temple, the new development consisting of retail lots, a heritage and historical museum and a multi-purpose hall, can become another interesting destination for visitors, he added.

He also urged the two state executive councillors from MCA, Ling Tian Soon and Lee Ting Han, to work with the state government to promote the place that will boast a strong Hakka spirit and identity.

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