On October 31, Malaysia said it would proceed with the construction of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) project, but at a new reduced cost of RM3.16 billion following a review of the proposal with Singapore.

It was also announced that Malaysia had requested a further extension of the suspension period to April 30, 2020, and Singapore has agreed to the request, in the spirit of bilateral cooperation. According to news reports, the extension is to ensure that necessary amendments to three agreements can be made. The two countries are set to ink an amended bilateral agreement, joint venture agreement and concession agreement next year.

The RTS will also make a switch to a light rail transit (LRT) system instead of the mass rapid transit (MRT) system that was originally proposed in the plan, the New Straits Times reports. Transport minister Anthony Loke said the choice of LRT was made following a review, adding that the government has proposed the switch to Singapore and is still discussing the matter.

“We had been looking at the scopes or specifications of the project and considered the use of the LRT system, which is similar to the ones (operated) in Kuala Lumpur, of which the maintenance could be done in Malaysia,” he said.

“Previously, it was proposed that the project use the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, similar to the one in Singapore. However, we found that the LRT system is sufficient for the rail project, with only two stations, namely, Bukit Chagar on Johor’s side and Woodlands in Singapore. Passengers who disembark at the Woodlands station will have connectivity with Singapore’s MRT,” he said.

The RTS Link project – aimed at addressing congestion in the daily commute between the two countries – was initially scheduled to begin construction this year and slated for completion by December 2024. The proposed 4km-long rail project will have the capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers per hour, and is aimed at providing an alternative means of transportation for 80,000 to 100,000 commuters plying the causeway route daily.