Malaysia, Singapore to ‘seal’ RTS deal on Johor Causeway tomorrow

The RTS, a 4km line connecting Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru and Woodlands in Singapore, will help reduce congestion on the Johor Causeway. (Reuters pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: Tomorrow, the Johor Causeway will once again become the location for a symbolic agreement between Malaysia and Singapore, to proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project connecting Johor and the republic.

The Causeway was also the venue for a historic meeting on Sunday when Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrisnan met and agreed on cross-border travel between the two countries.

Tomorrow’s meeting is considered historic and symbolic as this will be the first time Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be meeting Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the Johor Causeway.

This will also be their first face-to-face meeting since Muhyiddin was appointed as the 8th prime minister on March 1, while Lee himself was just sworn in for another term as prime minister on July 27, following the victory of his party, People’s Action Party (PAP), in the recent general election.

After three postponements, Malaysia and Singapore are expected to finally agree to proceed with the RTS construction tomorrow.

RTS, a 4km line connecting Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru and Woodlands in Singapore, will help reduce congestion on the Johor Causeway, which has been listed as one of the busiest land border crossings in the world.

Before the movement control order (MCO) was implemented on March 18, the Johor Causeway was used by about 350,000 travellers daily.

The RTS project has gone through a series of discussions under three Malaysian prime ministers and is expected to cost about RM3.7 billion, with the specifications having been agreed upon by Malaysia and Singapore.

The two-phase project is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed by the end of 2026.