36% savings after reviewing the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project
In a press conference held at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at the Sultan Iskandar Building, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad mentioned that the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project between Johor Bahru and Singapore will move forward, with a new cost of RM3.16 billion.
NST reported that following a review of the project, the cost had been reduced by about 36 per cent (RM1.77 billion) from the initial amount of RM4.93 billion.
“We have made a decision and will proceed with the RTS project.
“It will help to partially reduce the congestion problem at the Causeway,” he said.
The decision was made in response to the final decision deadline of Oct 31.
In May, the Malaysian government made a request for the suspension of the project, as it wanted more time to decide on whether to proceed with it, or to make changes to the initial proposal.
The six-month suspension was supposed to end on Sept 30, but was extended to Oct 31.
Tun Dr. Mahathir reminded that there are more efficient ways to solve the Causeway congestion problem. One of that he was adamant about was, in fact, to build a new bridge. However, the idea was not in favour of the Singapore government.
“We can’t build another one because Singapore refuses. I do not know why.
“Johor has been very generous by selling raw water to them at three sen per 1,000 gallons.
“But, when we want to build another bridge to solve the congestion problem, they refused.
“I don’t see how we can be so accommodating to Singapore, but they can’t do the same to us,” he added.
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong signed the bilateral agreement for the RTS project in January, last year.
The RTS will link Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru and Woodlands in Singapore. The project is targeted for completion by 2024.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the details of the project, including the start and completion dates, would be outlined in an amended bilateral agreement that would be signed early next year.
“We have submitted our new proposed changes to Singapore and they will need time to study them,” he said.
“The alignment of the project will remain the same. It will connect Bukit Chagar to Woodlands.”
Loke said besides the bilateral agreement, both parties would also have to sign the joint venture and concession agreements.
Also present were Menteri Besar Datuk Dr. Sahruddin Jamal, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.