MALAYSIA, S’PORE TO INK JB RAIL DEAL IN DEC
Link between Johor and republic expected to begin operations in 2024, says Rahman
MALAYSIA and Singapore will sign a bilateral agreement on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) in December, paving way for the rail passenger link between the republic and Johor Baru to begin operations in seven years.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the matter was agreed on at the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) meeting in Iskandar Puteri, here, yesterday.
“We welcome the good progress of commercial, technical and regulatory discussions and look forward to the signing of the bilateral agreement by December.
“Among the issues discussed at the meeting was Malaysia’s request to become the dominant shareholder of the RTS operator with a 51 per cent stake.
“This is a matter of practicality because the operator would operate more effectively with one party having the majority stake. We also made the request considering that Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) would be halting its KTM Tebrau shuttle service once the RTS is operational,” said Rahman.
He said Singapore in principal had agreed to the request but wanted to discuss it with the country’s mass rapid transit (MRT) operator SMRT Corp Ltd first.
Rahman said the RTS was expected to commence operations by December 2024.
The RTS will connect Johor Baru to the republic’s Thomson MRT line. It will provide an alternative mode of transport for 80,000 to 100,000 people who use the Causeway daily.
Also present at the JMCIM meeting was Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
The Singapore government was represented by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Khaw Boon Wan and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
Rahman said both governments agreed to a split of 61:39 on the RTS concession fee that would be paid to the countries, with Singapore receiving the majority of the fee.
“Singapore will receive the majority of the fee because the cost of infrastructure development in the republic is higher as it involves building underground stations.”
He said after the recovery of the cost for the infrastructure development, Malaysia had asked for the concession fee to be split equally but Singapore wanted the ratio to be maintained.
“Our argument is once the costs have been recovered, the fee would be pure earnings, so it is only fair that it is split equally. We have a good argument on this matter.”
On another matter, Rahman said Malaysia welcomed Singapore’s plans to upgrade the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine facilities at the Woodlands Checkpoint which would increase overall clearance capacity and ease congestion.
“We hope they undertake this project soon as this would enable KTMB to increase the frequency of its Tebrau shuttle service to 36 daily trips from 26,” said Rahman.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting was Malaysia’s request to become the dominant shareholder of the RTS operator ... DATUK SERI ABDUL RAHMAN DAHLAN Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
(From left) Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Singapore Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Singapore National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia meeting in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Baru, yesterday.