Six-month extension to amend RTS agreements

Amendments are to be made on the bilateral agreement, JV agreement and concession agreement before April 30, 2020

pic by BERNAMA

THE suspension of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project to April next year is to allow amendments for important agreements to be inked.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said there are amendments to be made to three agreements before it is signed by April 30, 2020.

“Yes, we have requested for a six-month extension before we sign the agreements. As we had announced, the government has decided to continue with the RTS Link alongside amendments to the scope and structure of the project,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

The amendments to be made are on the bilateral agreement, joint-venture (JV) agreement and concession agreement.

The JV is between Singapore’s SMRT Corp Ltd and Prasarana Malaysia Bhd to constitute a JV operating company or “OpCo”, while the concession agreement is for both governments to appoint the OpCo as the RTS Link operator.

“We expect the new agreements to be signed before April 30, next year,” he added.

Loke added that the government needs to appoint a consultant to conduct a joint-engineering study.

“Discussions are still ongoing. We know the requirement of the Singaporeans and know that there are certain conditions we have to meet.”

On the reduction cost of 36% for the project, Loke said this involved the Bukit Chagar RTS station to the border bridge.

With the proposed changes, the total cost of the 4km rail project is estimated to be RM3.16 billion (S$1.03 billion), instead of the original of RM4.93 billion.

In May this year, both governments agreed to suspend the construction of the RTS Link until Sept 30 at Malaysia’s request.

Both sides then agreed to extend the deadline for an additional month, until Oct 31, when Malaysia announced that the project would proceed.

With the deferment, Malaysia was required to pay Singapore RM2 million in abortive costs.

The RTS Link project, which is based on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system, would have the capacity to transport 10,000 commuters an hour in one direction during peak periods.

It was initially scheduled for construction this year, to be completed by December 2024.