JB-S'pore rapid transit link cost depends on track alignment

KUALA LUMPUR: The cost of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) will depend on the final alignment of the rail track, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

He said Prasarana Malaysia Bhd had taken note of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s advice, on an alternative alignment for the rail track.

“The company has agreed to look into it and should be able to complete a study on the new alignment in a month or so and present it to our Singaporean counterpart,” he added.

Abdul Rahman said the design possibilities included a high bridge, low bridge, diagonal bridge and a bridge parallel to the causeway.

He told a media conference this after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Prasarana and Singapore-based SMRT Corporation Ltd today.

The MoU involves the establishment of a joint venture (JV) RTS Link operating company (OpCo). It will design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew RTS Link’s operating assets like trains, tracks and systems.

Abdul Rahman said the MoU would also pave way for the signing of the bilateral agreement between the two parties by December this year.

It was reported in August this year that Sultan Ibrahim had disagreed with RTS Link’s proposed design as the potentially costly curved concept would disrupt the city’s skyline.

Meanwhile, on the JV signed today, Abdul Rahman said it was unlikely to be a 50:50 venture as it would result in a deadlock in decision making.

“But both sides have agreed and acknowledged the fact that one party had to take a slightly smaller majority for decision making to be easier,” he said.

He did not disclose which party would have the smaller stake in the JV, but said overall, the railway project would be led by Prasarana.

Meanwhile, Prasarana Group CEO, Datuk Seri Azmi Abdul Aziz said construction for the project is expected to begin in 2019.

On financing, Azmi said the company would raise funds in the market with the guarantee issued by the government.

The four-kilometre long RTS Link, which is expected to connect the terminus stations at Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru and Woodlands in Singapore, is scheduled to materialise by end-2024. – Bernama