February 15, 2023
SINGAPORE – The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link is a priority for both sides of the Causeway, said Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi on Tuesday as he wrapped up his three-day working visit to the Republic.
“(The RTS) is important not just for business logistics, but also to improve the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore,” he said on Facebook after meeting Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran.
Datuk Onn Hafiz added that he welcomed Mr Iswaran’s suggestion to set short- and medium-term targets to ensure that the progress of the project remains on track.
The RTS link is slated for completion by end-2026. When the 4km rail shuttle service is operational, passengers will be able to travel from Woodlands to Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, or in the other direction, in five minutes.
It can carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, and will be connected to Woodlands North MRT station.
Mr Onn Hafiz also said the state government is looking into adding additional lanes for motorcyclists at the Johor Bahru checkpoint to facilitate speedier clearances and travel times across the Causeway, which is used by more than 300,000 people daily.
To ease congestion on the Second Link, the Johor chief also surfaced a proposal for a new ferry service connecting Puteri Harbour in Johor to Tuas.
On Monday, Mr Onn Hafiz said Johor and Singapore will cooperate on climate-related issues, including measures to avoid floods and maintain food security, adding that the neighbours’ mutually beneficial relationship will continue through “immense” business investments.
Johor residents have been plagued by floods over the past two year-end monsoon seasons, with heavy rain and ensuing floods displacing thousands to evacuation centres in December.
Mr Onn Hafiz also noted Singapore’s consistent top ranking in the Global Food Security Index despite acquiring more than 90 per cent of its food from more than 170 countries and territories – including Johor for items such as fruit, chicken and vegetables.
He said on Facebook that he had discussed those topics with Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, who welcomed the opportunity to also work together on river hygiene and carbon credits.
After meeting Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Maliki Osman on Monday, the Johor Chief Minister said the Republic will continue to be instrumental to Johor’s economic development.
Mr Onn Hafiz said he was “moved” to hear the two ministers reaffirm the close ties that Malaysia and Singapore share, and that he hopes to further improve the relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
A day earlier, on Sunday, he estimated that the state can attract investments worth up to RM15 billion (S$4.6 billion) from international companies based in Singapore.
In a meeting with leaders from the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) on Monday, the Johor chief touted investments in the state, which he hopes will create thousands of high-income jobs for residents.
SMF represents almost 5,000 members from small and medium-sized enterprises, trade associations and multinational corporations. Its president Lennon Tan said its members will visit Johor to explore potential investment avenues and business relationships in Malaysia.
Acknowledging that there were questions over the availability of a trained and qualified workforce and an investor-friendly environment in Johor, Mr Onn Hafiz promised the state government’s commitment to facilitate investments for Singapore businesses.