Malaysia and Singapore signed a bilateral agreement on the 4-km Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link between Johor Bahru and Singapore at the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat yesterday.
The cross-border MRT system, first announced in 2010, will run from Bukit Chagar in Johor to Woodlands North station in Singapore. The RTS Link will be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction once ready in 2024.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing of the agreement by Singapore Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan at the Istana here.
The RTS is expected to shorten the travel period between both countries to 30 minutes from more than one hour currently.
At a press conference later, Najib said the RTS would provide seamless connectivity and the volume (in terms of capacity) required.
Acknowledging that it is a complex project but very doable, Najib said the technical challenges could be overcome and was very optimistic that the RTS could change the nature of connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore in the future.
He said both countries were looking at increasing Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) shuttle frequency to Woodlands from 26 trips to 31 at present.
Apart from that, the two countries are also looking at reviewing tolls at the Second Link to make it attractive for people to use as one of the ways to ease congestion at the Causeway, Najib added.
Concurring with Najib, Lee said the RTS Link would replace the KTMB Link to Woodlands when it becomes operational in 2024, but in the meantime, both countries would increase the KTMB shuttle frequency, as one of the ways to address congestion.
"The enhanced connectivity will also boost economic cooperation in Iskandar Malaysia" Lee added.
To a question on the criteria both government would use in choosing the winning bidder for the Assets Company for the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Najib said it would be a comprehensive assessment, multi dimensional assessment and would not only take into account technical and cost, but also longevity of the project which means life cycle cost, maintenance and to maximise local content.
"So that, people will see HSR really brings real benefit, tangible benefit even during construction period" he added.
Since the countries called for a joint tender for the Assets Company last month, there has been a strong international interest, he said, adding that the procurement would be done in a fair, open and transparent manner. - Bernama