Construction begins on Singapore-Johor rail link

Out-Law News | 26 Nov 2020 | 1:23 am | 1 min. read

Construction has begun in Malaysia on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project between Singapore and Johor.

The RTS Link is a cross-border light rail transit (LRT) system that will connect Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore, serving about 10,000 passengers per hour each way to help ease traffic congestion on the Causeway road link. A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the location of the Bukit Chagar station.

The total cost of the RTS project is almost RM10 billion ($2.44bn). Malaysia and Singapore will share the cost at a ratio of 61:39. Malaysia will pay RM3.716bn ($908 million) for the project and Singapore will cover the rest.

Yong Neng Chan, a construction expert at Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law, said, "The Singapore-Johor RTS is a landmark project which will no doubt have profound impact on the many people shuttling between these states on a daily basis. The resumption of works will certainly be welcome news for both commuters and businesses."

The project was first announced in 2010. Malaysia requested in April that the project be suspended for six months to review the project’s scope, structure and costs. The countries signed an agreement the following month to formalise the suspension until September 30. Malaysia agreed to pay Singapore over $600,000 for costs incurred by the delay. Malaysia then requested one more month extension until October 31, 2019. Singapore agreed and did not charge for the additional month. The total cost of the project was cut by 36% in last November. The two delayed the project for half a year until April 2020.

In May, Malaysia announced that the RTS Link project suspension period would be extended by three months to 31 July due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two countries signed an agreement in July for the resumption of the project and postponed the commencement date of passenger service from the end of 2024 to the end of 2026.