MALAYSIA, S’PORE TO INK JB RAIL DEAL IN DEC

Link be­tween Jo­hor and repub­lic ex­pected to be­gin op­er­a­tions in 2024, says Rah­man

New Straits Times - - Business - RIZAL­MAN HAMMIM JO­HOR BARU bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

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

PIC BY IHSAN IRDA

(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.

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