Construction of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project between Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Singapore has commenced, announced Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp). The groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday (22 November) at the site of the future Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (ICQ) building in Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru. The event was officiated by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, virtually from Istana Bukit Serene.
The RTS Link between Malaysia and Singapore will be a railway service with two stations, one at Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, and the other at Woodlands North in Singapore. The link is targeted to begin operations by the end of 2026 and will provide an easy and efficient border crossing between the two countries.
At Bukit Chagar, the groundbreaking event was witnessed by chairman of Malaysia Rapid Transit System (MRTS) Sdn Bhd, Datuk Isham Ishak, who is also secretary-general of the Transport Ministry; CEO of MRT Corp, Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim; and project director of RTS Link, Ir Zulkifli Mohamed.
MRTS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MRT Corp and was appointed as the Malaysian infrastructure company (InfraCo) of the RTS project. Its role is to develop and own the Malaysian infrastructure of the RTS Link.
In his welcome speech, Mr Hashim said RTS Link will be the catalyst that will transform Johor Bahru into a modern sustainable city. “Public transport which is smart and efficient will help boost economic activities and elevated Johor Bahru’s status as a focal point for the best human capital in the region.”
He highlighted that the RTS Link will be the first light rail transit system to be built in Johor Bahru, a major gateway into the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia. In view of this, it was important for the project to be implemented according to schedule and international standards.
Mr Hashim further explained that Malaysia’s portion of the cost of developing the RTS Link project was RM3.7 billion, which included the construction of a station at Bukit Chagar, depot at Wadi Hana, viaducts through the city centre of Johor Bahru and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysian-Singapore boundary.
The cost also included the construction of a four-storey ICQ complex at Bukit Chagar. This facility will be part of a transit-oriented development that will feature a multimodal transport hub and mixed property development.
Mr Hashim added that Adil Permata Sdn Bhd, which is the developer of these property developments, has been appointed as contractor to carry out advance works such as site clearing, utility relocation works, and others.
“Forty percent of the total infrastructure construction cost will be allocated to Bumiputera contractors, including those from Grade 1 to Grade 6 from Johor.
“With the depot for the RTS Link now located in Wadi Hana, there will be many opportunities for local businesses to be involved in the maintenance, repair and overhaul supply chain and in building local expertise in the rail technology industry.”
Also witnessing the groundbreaking ceremony at Istana Bukit Serene were Tunku Mahkota Johor, Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim; Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Haji Hasni Bin Mohammad; and Johor state secretary, Dato’ Haji Azmi Bin Rohani. Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Ir. Wee Ka Siong participated in the event via Zoom video conferencing from the Ministry in Putrajaya.
According to MRT Corp, approximately 200 guests joined to celebrate this historic event from different locations in Johor Bahru, Putrajaya and other parts of Malaysia. Click here to view more images on the Facebook page of Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
Image: Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar/Facebook