SINGAPORE: The suspension of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project has been extended to Apr 30, 2020, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday (Nov 4).
This comes after Malaysia said on Oct 31 it would proceed with the construction of the RTS Link project, with a 36 per cent cost cut.
While the decision has been made to go ahead with the project, Malaysia was not yet ready to share the details of their proposed changes with Singapore, Mr Khaw said in a written response to parliamentary questions about the RTS by Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng.
“Without the details, Malaysia’s proposal is incomplete and Singapore is unable to make a thorough assessment of the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposal.”
Mr Khaw said in his written response that on Oct 29, Malaysia had requested a further extension of the suspension period by six months to Apr 30, 2020.
“In the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore agreed to Malaysia’s request to further extend the suspension period,” Mr Khaw said.
In May, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend the construction of the RTS Link until Sep 30 at Malaysia’s request.
Both sides then agreed to extend the deadline for an additional month, until Oct 31, when Malaysia announced that the project would proceed.
“Singapore welcomes Malaysia’s decision to proceed with the RTS Link Project. This is a mutually beneficial project for both countries. The RTS Link will significantly ease Causeway congestion, facilitate business and tourism, and bring our people closer together,” said Mr Khaw.
“While we are not obliged to accept Malaysia’s proposed changes, we will continue to keep an open mind and assess them carefully and objectively.”
Mr Khaw reiterated that both sides are currently discussing changes to the project, which will require amendments to the RTS Link Bilateral Agreement.
TWO OTHER AGREEMENTS TO BE SIGNED
Apart from the re-stated Bilateral Agreement, two other agreements will need to be signed at the same time by the end of the suspension period.
The first is the Joint Venture Agreement between Singapore’s SMRT Corporation and Malaysia’s Prasarana Malaysia Berhad to constitute a joint venture Operating Company or “OpCo”.
The second is a Concession Agreement for the Singapore and Malaysian Governments to appoint the OpCo as the RTS Link operator.
“The discussions will take some time, and both sides are working hard on this,” said Mr Khaw.