Singapore

Khaw hopeful deal to suspend Woodlands-JB rail link can be done soon

Singapore hopes a supplementary agreement to suspend a cross-border rail link between Woodlands and Johor Baru can be finalised and signed soon, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke after a ceremony to mark Malaysian carrier Firefly's inaugural landing at Seletar Airport, Mr Khaw noted that while the bilateral agreement for the Rapid Transit System (RTS) link has no provision for a suspension, a supplementary agreement can be worked out "in the spirit of bilateral cooperation".

This was done for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, he said.

Both ministers had, after their meeting on April 8, said that Singapore and Malaysia are working towards a supplementary agreement to suspend the RTS link for six months.

In the case of the HSR, both countries had agreed to suspend the project for two years, with Malaysia paying Singapore $15 million for abortive costs incurred as a result.

Malaysia has requested to suspend the 4km RTS link so it can review the key parameters.

"At this point in time, we are still committed to ensuring that the project can continue," said Mr Loke.

The RTS link was slated to start operating by Dec 31, 2024.

On April 8, Mr Loke said "there is some cost involved" when asked if Malaysia will need to pay compensation to Singapore if the RTS is suspended.

Yesterday, Firefly flight FY3126, which departed from Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, was greeted with a water cannon salute as it landed at Seletar at around 10.50am with Mr Loke and 70 other passengers aboard.

Mr Loke said later the new Global Positioning System (GPS) instrument approach procedures for Seletar Airport could be implemented within six to 12 months.

Mr Khaw said regulators from both nations will be meeting next week to discuss procedures. He is "quite confident it can be done pretty soon".

The GPS procedures will replace the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures at Seletar, which had triggered a bilateral dispute over airspace issues.

Transport