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New level of cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore

  • Both sides must strive to ease the perennial congestion before the RTS goes into operation by December 31, 2024.

Sin Chew Daily

The eighth Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat is held on Tuesday, with a focus on prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong witnessing the signing of an agreement on RTS link between Singapore and Johor.

The two leaders will also witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding on educational cooperation.

In addition, the KL-Singapore HSR project, the 1962 water supply agreement and educational cooperation are other major subjects to be discussed or inked between the two countries.

This is to ensure that Johor Linggiu Dam will continue to supply sufficient water to Singapore while exploring solutions to alleviate the severe traffic congestion on Johor Causeway and the Second Link prior to the completion of RTS and HSR projects in 2024 and 2026 respectively.

The existing two road links are severely congested during the morning and evening peak hours as well as public holidays, long weekends, heavy downpours and road accidents. Despite the nightmarish traffic, tens of thousands of vehicles still jam up the two road links on a daily basis owing to the exchange rates, labor needs, fast increasing bilateral trade and population.

A short 1km causeway has seen the record of 12 hours standstill, squandering away precious manpower hours of hundreds of thousands of commuters. Such wastages could sum up to unimaginable astronomical proportions over time.

It is therefore essential for both sides to strive to ease the congestion before the RTS goes into operation by December 31, 2024, including setting up footpaths and increasing train and ferry frequencies.

It has been estimated that some 100,000 to 150,000 people ply between the two countries by foot, motorcycles or buses every day.

The RTS project will also involve other adjacent amenities as well as integration with existing or future MRT networks on both sides. An independent company will be jointly commissioned by both governments to operate and maintain the trains, railway tracks as well as fare collection.

Once the RTS becomes operational, the existing short-haul commuter train services between Woodlands and Johor Bahru will be terminated.

Under the plan, both Malaysia and Singapore will build a bridge across the Johor Straits to link the transit networks of the two cities. The northernmost link station in Singapore will be at Woodlands North while the Johor terminal is at Bukit Chagar.

It is easily seen that the RTS will serve as the ultimate solution to address the overland traffic woes between the two countries and a significant booster for economic activities in both places.

Despite the fact Singapore has been separated from Malaysia for 53 years now, synergistic relationship and people-to-people interactions remain robust where economic benefits and labor needs are concerned.

 

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