The Straits Times, 12 July 2020
GELANG PATAH (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Work on the Johor Baru-Singapore Transit Link System (RTS) project is expected to start this November, said Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad.
He said Malaysia and Singapore would be signing the agreement on the project, linking Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru with Singapore’s Woodlands North station on the Thomson-East Coast MRT line, at the end of the month.
“The long-awaited project will boost Johor’s economy, as it will create an economic spillover especially in Iskandar Malaysia,” he told reporters on Sunday (July 12).
Datuk Hasni said the train depot for the maintenance of the train coaches would be built at a site in Wadihana in Johor Baru instead of the initial plan of building it in Mandai, Singapore.
He said the train depot spans about 2.83ha, and added that it would create between 400 and 500 job opportunities for locals.
Last week, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said Malaysia was confident of meeting Singapore’s July 31 deadline for the RTS project.
He said that of the 222 unresolved issues related to the project, both countries have successfully solved 220, with only two more issues, which a technical committee will discuss at a meeting on Monday.
However, Mr Azmin declined to reveal what were the two outstanding issues.
On June 22, Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said discussions with Malaysia about the construction of RTS Link were still ongoing, with a final deadline of July 31.
The rail line project has been suspended since April last year to allow Malaysia to review the project and suggest changes for Singapore’s consideration.
Mr Khaw said in November last year that Singapore and Malaysia will need to sign three agreements by the end of April this year on the cross-border RTS Link, after three suspensions to the project.
The project was first announced in 2010.
The deadline was pushed for a fourth time to end-July, due to factors such as the change of government in Malaysia and the Covid-19 crisis.
A bilateral agreement was signed in January 2018 to build the link by Dec 31, 2024.
Construction on the project was originally planned to have started last year.