World

Possible 'good news' on Johor-Singapore railway deal soon

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke has hinted that there may be "good news" in about two months concerning the Rapid Transit System (RTS) that will connect Johor Baru and Singapore.

"It is my hope to see the RTS take place," he said in his keynote address at the Women In Rail Malaysia Leadership Conference yesterday.

"I believe if there is a will, we can always find creative solutions.

"I am thankful that our friends in Singapore are very pragmatic and cooperative in helping us find a solution to the problem," he said.

The RTS was put on hold until the end of September, but Mr Loke said he was confident that an agreement would be reached before then.

He added that the Malaysian government is also looking at solutions to revive another suspended rail project, the High Speed Rail (HSR) to connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The HSR has been put on hold until May next year.

He also said the newly revived East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project may be celebrated in a re-launch ceremony on July 25.

Malaysian companies are set to play a larger role. This is as they will take on 40 per cent of the project's civil works.

"It is our hope that we fully utilise the project for the benefit of the Malaysian economy, not only at the construction stage but (in future) link up the whole railway network with the ports to ensure industrialisation will take place along the railway corridor," he said.

Mr Loke added that the project had the potential to boost the economy while effectively improving connectivity.

The ECRL was put on hold for several months from July 2018 as terms of its construction were renegotiated.

Under the new deal, the project's development cost was brought down from RM66 billion (S$21.7 billion) to RM44 billion.

The line, previously 688km, was also shortened by 40km.- THE STAR

WORLD