JOHOR BARU: Malaysia will proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project between Johor Baru and Singapore, with a new cost of RM3.16 billion.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said 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.
However, Dr Mahathir said the most efficient way to solve the Causeway congestion problem was to build a new bridge.
“But we can’t build another one because Singapore refuses. I don’t 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.
On the water price issue, Dr Mahathir hopes to discuss it with Singapore as soon as possible.
“For now, we can’t do it because they have not set a date.
“We are losing millions of ringgit every day as long as the issue is not resolved.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after visiting the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at the Sultan Iskandar Building, here.
The bilateral agreement for the RTS project was signed by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in January, last year.
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.
The RTS will link Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru 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.