JOHOR BAHRU: Malaysia began construction of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project between Singapore and Johor on Sunday (November 22) with an opening ceremony at the Bukit Chagar station site.
The event was almost attended by Johor’s Governor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar Johor CrownPrince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, Prime Minister Hasni Mohammad Johor and other government officials.
During the event, Malaysian officials also reported that 40% of the infrastructure costs assumed by the Malaysian government for the project will be allocated to bumiput contractors, including companies in Johor.
RTS Link aims to link Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru with the Woodlands in Singapore, serving about 10,000 passengers per hour on each route to help accumulate road traffic. Passenger services are scheduled to begin in late 2026.
The innovative event marks an important milestone for the Malaysian Rapid Transit System (MRTS), the developer and owner of the civil infrastructure in the Malaysian section of RTS Link.
Bukit Chagar station will have a four-storey building that includes a train platform and an immigration, customs and quarantine complex (CIQ), MRTS CEO Mohd Zarif Hashim said in a speech.
The project facilities will be part of the transport-oriented development, with the adjacent transportation center and mixed-property development, he added.
“The RTS Link project is a fast and efficient railway project to facilitate a more comfortable journey between Singapore and Malaysia, especially for the convenience of Johor residents. It will connect Bukit Chagar station next to Juk Sentral station. 4 km from Woodlands North station in Singapore,” he said. Mohd Zarifek.
He explained that the railway would pass through the JB Central, make a curve through Jalan Ismail Sultan before going to Sela Tebraura and to Singapore’s Woodlands North station.
Construction and civil infrastructure are expected to take four years, and another two years will be needed to install the rail system.
“This project is expected to be launched on December 31, 2026,” Mohd Zarif said.
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BUMIPUTERA CONTRACTORS, CONSTRUCTION FOR JOHOR COMPANIES
The total cost of the RTS project is estimated at RM 10 billion (S $ 3.24 billion). The two governments have agreed to split 61:39, and Malaysia has earmarked a grant of € 3.716 billion for the project.
Mohd Zarif said that this cost includes the operation of the system and the development of the ICQ complex at Bukit Chagar station, and that 40% of the amount of the infrastructure has been saved for bumiput companies.
“40% of the total cost of building the infrastructure will go to Bumiputera contractors, including those from Level 1 to Level 6 in Johor,” said Mohd Zarif.
He added that Adil Permata has been appointed a Malaysian contractor for initial work such as clearing the site for the station and changing services in the area.
“The RTS Link project will expand the supply chain and develop the Johor railway technology industry and provide jobs in the Wadi Hana warehouse,” said Mohd Zarif.
The warehouse will be located 1 km from Bukit Chagar station.
Mohd Zarif added that Sultan Ibrahim has also agreed to organize a competition to propose possible designs for the exterior facade of the station for the people.
Mohd Zarif said the designs should “reflect the characteristics of the Johor state” and should be “nostalgic elements” of Malaysia’s main railway operator KTM.
The project was due to be completed in 2024, but work on the project was earlier suspended at the request of Malaysia.
In July, leaders from Singapore and Malaysia held a ceremony at the Causeway to mark the official resumption of the project.
Earlier, it was announced that construction would take place in two phases. The development and civil phase will take place from 2021 to the end of 2024, and the start-up and testing phase will take place from 2025 to 2026.
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RTS LINK TO CUT SINGAPORE-OV JOURNEY TIME IN 5 MINUTES
In a press conference following the event, Mohd Zarif confirmed the details of the project’s operation.
He said there will be eight sets of trains in operation, each with four cabin compartments.
The train will take five minutes to travel between Woodlands North Station and Bukit Chagar Station, and the train wait will be about three and a half minutes during peak time and six minutes for non-peak time.
Mohd Zarif added that the station will operate between 6:00 am and midnight, but maintained that there may be flexibility to start earlier, around 5:30 am.
According to ticket prices, it has not yet been decided, but the commuter assured that it will now be based on the costs of crossing the street.
“It will be competitive to encourage people to use the train facilities,” he added.