Yes, RTS JB – SG is postponed. This reflects the decision that this RTS project is important and thus needs more considerations and evaluations before decisions. Earlier article here: Committed to ensure it happens. This is an important project for both countries. People have to stop thinking that this is only good for people who are working in Singapore.This is a catalytic infrastructure which will make both sides much more successful than having anyone stuck for a long time just to meet someone at either side. Make the connection and we are talking about non-stop potential business transactions and it will certainly benefit the expansion of Singaporean SMEs too.
Article in nst.com.my here. Transport Minister Anthony Loke was in Singapore to sign the Supplemental Agreement which deferred the RM4 billion project until Sept 30. He shared that the agreement would also allow time to explore affordable and sustainable solutions to address traffic congestion at the border, including lower fares for passengers. Current proposed RM15-one way ticket is considered expensive.
He said, “These (solutions) include new initiatives such as improvements to the physical infrastructure at the border, review of inter-boundary policies and regulations, and enhancing the quality of cross-border services.This does not mean that we are terminating the project. We just want to re-evaluate it for better execution. After several rounds of discussion, Malaysia and Singapore have reached a mutually acceptable agreement. Let us continue to find new ways that could still meet the objective of providing an affordable, efficient and practical transport connectivity between the two countries.”
Loke also shared that there are plans to privatise RTS construction and operations, that were intended to be run by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd previously. He added, “We believe that the project can be done at a more effective cost. And we hope that the construction and operations costs will be borne by private parties.” Article in nst.com.my
By the way, I have no wish to debate on which strategy (Prasarana vs privatisation) is better. Truth is, the benefit comes on a country level and not on the how to do it debate. As long it benefits the people and the country, that’s the best project and should be continued. Yes, I think this will be very beneficial to the property market in Johor Bahru as well because now it’s really possible for more travelling between both sides without the need to queue (whether cars or walking) for hours for example. My personal experience crossing the border is not pleasant. Too much time wasted which could have been used for other productive activities instead. Let’s keep following till 30th September 2019.
Article written and edited by Charles. News article summarised by Dina Batrisyia.
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