Prasarana and SMRT Corp sign MoU for RTS operating company
Prasarana

The project, expected to be completed by 2026, would carry about 10,000 commuters each direction every hour

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Singapore’s SMRT Corp Ltd have formed a joint-venture operating company (Opco) responsible for the proposed Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, a light transit system that links Johor Baru and the island republic.

Both companies signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the Opco in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The project, expected to be completed by 2026, would carry about 10,000 commuters each direction every hour. It will link Bukit Chagar terminal in Johor and Singapore’s Woodlands North.

Information on the project remains sketchy as both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are still working to finalise the details.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the Opco shareholding would not be an equal 50% split in order to avoid decision-making deadlocks in the future.

“We are still negotiating. We don’t believe in 50:50 basis because logically speaking, it would create difficult situations when making decisions.

“Both countries understand no country can do this on its own, posing its own will. However, we approach this matter in a ‘brotherly’ way,” Abdul Rahman said after the MoU signing ceremony.

Prasarana was represented by its president and group CEO Datuk Seri Azmi Abdul Aziz while SMRT Corp by its president and group CEO Desmond Kuek.

Also present was Prasarana chairman Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

The construction cost for the 4km link has not been finalised.

Azmi Abdul Aziz said the government will issue a guarantee for the rail operator to raise funds for the project.

Malaysia and Singapore are expected to sign a bilateral agreement on the RTS in December this year.

Tenders for the project will commence and works are expected to start as early as the first quarter of 2019.

Abdul Rahman said Bukit Chagar will remain the terminal on the Johor’s side but the route has not been finalised.

The Sultan of Johor had expressed his reservation on the proposed design of the link last month especially the curved track and elevated bridge to be built as high as 30m above sea level.

Abdul Rahman had an audience with the Johor ruler on Sept 19, 2017, and has taken into consideration the ruler’s views.

“He gave us the alternative alignments which we have agreed to look into. We should be able to complete the study on the new alignment in a month or so and we will present to our counterpart in Singapore and trash out any disagreement or difference in opinions,” he said.

The minister said there are few options for the proposed link.

“The RTS Link will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore, in addition to further enhancing our connectivity and benefitting thousands who commute regularly between the two cities,” said Kuek.