News: Johor Bahru-Singapore RTS Link project suspended

May 22, 2019

Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the project’s suspension would set back the targeted completion date by “a couple of years”.

At Malaysia’s request, Singapore has agreed to suspend the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link’s construction until 30 September, reported Channel News Asia.

The project was targeted for completion by 2024, but is now falling behind schedule with Malaysia repeatedly delaying the confirmation of its joint venture partner.

Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the project’s suspension would set back the targeted completion date by “a couple of years”.

Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed that under a supplemental agreement inked between the two governments, Singapore will be reimbursed by Malaysia for the abortive cost – estimated at $600,000 – due to the suspension.

He said these are expenses incurred by Singapore that cannot be reimbursed even if the project is restarted.

The abortive costs should be paid by 31 July.

Khaw also said that after several meetings, both sides have reached a “mutually acceptable arrangement” moving forward.

Malaysia, meanwhile, will have the option to proceed with the project as it is. It can also propose changes regarding project scope, with Singapore willing to give any such proposals due consideration.

“We hope that the RTS Link project will resume at the end of the suspension period – either in its current form as prescribed in the RTS bilateral agreement or incorporating any project scope changes that both sides agree on during the suspension period,” Khaw said.

If not, the project will be seen as terminated by Malaysia, and Malaysia will be obligated to reimburse Singapore for the expenses incurred in meeting its RTS Link obligations until now, he added.

When questioned if Malaysia has plans to call off the project, Khaw’s Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke said that Putrajaya would not want to “jump the gun right now” and will utilise the next four months to discuss other options.

“We do not want to discount any possibility and I do not want to say that we will terminate the project …We really hope that the project will proceed,” he said.

Loke also said that Malaysia is considering how the private sector can help in the project moving forward.

Khaw, however, retains a positive outlook for the project.

“I remain optimistic that the project could resume in due course. The cross-border congestion is real and only a decisive project like the RTS can make a material difference to the current situation.”

The RTS Link, which connects Woodlands in Singapore to Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, is expected to ferry up to 10,000 passengers every hour each way.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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