Rail Transit System (RTS) building momentum? I seriously do not think High Speed Rail (HSR) is that catalyst to get more people moving between Iskandar and Singapore. It will get KL – SG much better connected than today but effects to Iskandar will likely be incremental. It will help many other smaller towns that’s connected too. The catalyst has to come from some link which reduces the time needed to travel between JB and Singapore tremendously. Not the current 2 hours or more please. My friend has been stuck in the causeway jam for over 5 hours before. Maximum of 45 minutes and connected to Singapore’s world class public transportation system would be great. Yes, I wrote about this too earlier. RTS makes more sense, HSR can wait Well, I just read a piece of good news. It seems that this Rail Transit System (RTS) is happening! Here’s the article in channelnewsasia
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “We’ve settled on a high-bridge crossing. This was a major point – how are we going to cross the Straits of Johor – high bridge, low bridge (or) tunnel. That clears the way for us to work towards a bilateral agreement which I hope we can sign by the end of next year.” He was speaking at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Najib Razak after the signing of a bilateral agreement on the high-speed rail (HSR) project. According to the report, the RTS link will adopt Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast line system, including its signaling system, rolling stock, communication system and integrated supervisory control system. It was first announced in 2010. The RTS station in Malaysia would be in Bukit Chagar while in Singapore it will be at Woodlands North Station. He added, “Visitors can clear immigration in Johor Baru, get on the RTS, come to Singapore and transfer to the MRT seamlessly and vice versa.” The RTS would be operated by a corporate entity. The fares would NOT be regulated by both governments and will be based on market rate.
Assuming it’s operational within 5 years after an agreement is signed, that meant this is going to be 2022. So, what happens until then? Well, Iskandar should have more commercial activities, especially those funded by Singaporean SMEs. This will ensure more jobs are created and demand for services can also increase. Supporting Singaporean SMEs would be a great way to start because SMEs in Singapore would find it harder to compete with all other external competitors if they are manufacturing it in Singapore. Come on, even an experienced technician would easily cost S$3,000 per month or higher. This is very close to RM10,000 per month. Image Source: payscale.com Unless the factory is producing something of extremely high profit margin which does not make sense. Most manufacturing concerns do not earn exceptional profits. That’s the reason why as soon as slowdown starts and extends for half a year, many factories start to reduce their workforce.
I asked many of my Malaysian friends working in Singapore who’s staying in Singapore this question for the past many years. Why would you not stay in JB instead? My best friend told me this many years ago. ‘I used to stay in JB. Guess what, for five years during the weekdays, I have never seen the sun when I am in Malaysia. He needed to skip jams, thus he travels at 530am, latest and comes back after dinner and the jams, reaching home at 10pm. However, he said if the travelling is within 45 minutes, then he would. The reason is simple even today, from his home to work via MRT, it will take him 45 minutes. I think many Malaysians working in Singapore would want to save more money but they need a solution which will also save time. RTS may just be that solution they are looking for. Happy believing.
written on 19 Dec 2016
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