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RTS? ‘Committed to ensure it happens.’

RTS? ‘Committed to ensure it happens.’

Someone debated with me about RTS’s benefits versus cost. Here’s my view, earlier. The debate ended with the person saying that RTS will most probably not happen. Something along the lines of ‘relationship.’ Anyway, I believe RTS will happen. It has to happen yeah. Anyway, what’s the latest update? Before everyone starts saying that the RTS may be delayed indefinitely, here’s that commitment from a minister who’s proactive with his work thus far. Oh yeah, the current delay is a 6-month one and it ends on September 2019. Yeah, 4 months more, actually.

Article in nst.com.my Transport Minister Anthony Loke says that Malaysia is committed to ensure that the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project will be continued. He said, “We are working on the supplementary agreement for six months and looking at other options on how to reduce the cost.” (Nothing in the whole statement has anything on cancellation of the project. Everything is focused on making an agreement to ensure it goes well when it starts). RTS was supposed to start this year and completed by December 2024. It will be a 4km rail linking Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru and Woodlands, Singapore, with the capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers per hour.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that actually the bilateral agreement which was suspended did not have any provision for a suspension. Of the currrent suspension, he said, “However, in the spirit of bilateral relations we can always work out some amendments.” Article in nst.com.my

10,000 passengers per hour is a good number to start. My suspect is that once this is accepted as a better mode of transport since it’s most likely to be on time, the 10,000 is going to be a bottleneck. By then, it will be a good problem to have. Beyond just connecting Malaysians to Singapore, it will also allow many Singaporeans who do not own a car to travel to JB and well, provide multiplier effects to the economy. Instead of talking about how many Malaysians would be tempted to work in JB versus SG, I think the real possibility is that many of these Malaysians working in SG will be more likely buying a property in JB instead. Beyond just that argument that this benefits JB, let’s think ahead for MNCs thinking of having a hub in Singapore. It’s going to be a huge cost saving for some of the expat managers to be based in JB instead. Come on, cutting cost and putting these expat managers in a flat without facilities is not going to be something welcomed yeah.

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Article written and edited by Charles. News article summarised by Dina Batrisyia.

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