JB-S’pore link project misses deadline

SINGAPORE: The deadline for Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Singapore's SMRT Corporation Ltd to form a joint-venture company (JV Co) to operate the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link has been missed, according to Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Channel NewsAsia quoted Khaw as saying in Parliament today that the JV Co was not set up by the June 30 deadline, as Prasarana Malaysia suspended discussions with SMRT after the country's general election in May.

“This means that both countries should now proceed to call an open, international tender to appoint the RTS Link operator, unless we mutually agree on a postponement of the deadline,” the minister said.

Channel NewsAsia said Khaw also pointed to its report on May 30 that mentioned his Malaysian counterpart, Anthony Loke, as saying the RTS project would proceed but the government would re-study it in terms of cost and other aspects.

“I was made to understand that the cost of the project is RM4 billion for the Malaysian government, but of course we are looking at how to reduce cost … We have just made the decision, we have to initiate negotiations and discussions with our counterparts in Singapore,” Loke was quoted as saying during the May 30 interview.

Prasarana Malaysia and SMRT inked a memorandum of understanding in September last year to form the JV Co, which would design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew the RTS Link operating assets such as trains, tracks and systems.

On Jan 16, Malaysia and Singapore signed a legally-binding agreement to build the link.

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The cross-border service, slated to start running by end-2024, would connect Johor's Bukit Chagar and Singapore's Woodlands North, where it would join the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line.

The RTS trains will be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, translating into an additional capacity of 60,000 users crossing the causeway during peak hours. — Bernama

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