Working paper on rapid transit system to be tabled to cabinet soon — Anthony Loke

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JOHOR BAHRU (July 30): A working paper on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project linking Bukit Chagar, Johor Baharu here to Woodlands, Singapore will be presented to the Cabinet in the near future, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

He said that although the government had agreed in principle to the implementation of the RTS project, detailed information about it is still needed to be brought to the Cabinet for approval.

“The government remains committed to implement the RTS project…in terms of cost, the Cabinet approval is needed,” he told reporters after attending a briefing on the e-testing system, a new vehicle driving test system, at Pusat Latihan Memandu Berjaya Berhad, Taman Perling here today.

Loke said once the approval was received from the Cabinet, a joint venture company between Malaysia and Singapore would be set up to ensure smooth implementation of project.

Meanwhile, he said the federal government would not have to pay any compensation to Singapore despite the delay in the RTS project implementation.

“The issue does not arise because we have not signed the agreement yet, only involves an MoU (memorandum of understanding) that demonstrates our commitment, so there is no compensation,” he said.

The RTS project costing RM4 billion will operate from Bukit Chagar in Johor to the Woodlands North station in Singapore, It is expected to transport up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction when completed in 2024.

On the Gemas-Johor Bahru electric double tracking rail project, Loke said it was already 20 per cent in progress and was expected to be completed as scheduled on Oct 31, 2021.

“Once completed, the project will be able to connect the whole west coast namely from Padang Besar (in Perlis) to Johor Bahru by 2022,” he said.

Loke said he also took note of the Johor government's application to increase the number of Electric Train Service (ETS) stations for the double tracking rail project namely, between Kulai and Kempas. 

“However, any proposal is subject to Cabinet approval as building more stations will result in an increase in the cost of the project,” he added.

The RM8.9 billion Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking project spanning 192 km involves the construction of 11 ETS stations including Segamat, Kluang, Labis, Bekok, Paloh, Kulai and Kempas Baru.

In the meantime, Loke said the ministry was looking at a proper mechanism to increase the frequency of trips of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) services from Johor Bahru to Woodlands to meet the demand of commuters.

“At the moment, there are 31 trips and any increase will require the approval from the Singapore government,” he added.

Besides that, he said the ministry is studying the implementation of the Vehicle Entry Permit fitted with the Radio Frequency Identification technology at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex to ensure smooth traffic flow there. — Bernama