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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15): The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project is progressing well and on track to commence commercial operations in January 2027 although faced with two minor issues that must be addressed before construction can start in a big way, said Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp).

MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said one household in Wadi Hana, Johor Bahru — where the project’s maintenance depot is set to be built — is refusing to move out from the area.

“But the matter is now being addressed by the local authorities in Johor Bahru. Hopefully, once the household moves out from the location of Wadi Hana, then we will be able to start construction of our depot,” he said during a media conference on Tuesday to provide updates on MRT Corp’s projects.

The second issue involves construction work in Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru which is still pending mainly because there are water pipes that go to Singapore in the area.

Some of the pipes need to be relocated to a new location, while the pipes that remain have to be protected, said Mohd Zarif.

The RTS project, which was first announced in 2010, was slated to be completed in 2026 and is expected to provide an easy and efficient border crossing between Malaysia and Singapore.

MRT Corp previously said the project will cost Malaysia RM3.7 billion, which includes the construction of a station at Bukit Chagar, depot at Wadi Hana and viaducts through the city centre of Johor Bahru and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysia-Singapore boundary.

In addition, the cost also covers the construction of a four-storey customs, immigration and quarantine complex, which will be part of a transit-oriented development that will also feature a multimodal transport hub and mixed property development.

The construction entails a 4km rail shuttle service which will allow travellers to cross the Straits of Johor and reach Bukit Chagar in Johor within five minutes. It is expected to serve up to 10,000 commuters per hour each way.

MRT3 circle line project remains on the table

Meanwhile, Mohd Zarif said the Mass Rapid Transit 3 (MRT3) circle line project in Kuala Lumpur is “pretty much on the table” with MRT Corp finalising its funding plans together with the government.

“Just give us a little bit more time to finalise it… and we hope to come back to you in the early part next year on further updates on the tendering process for the MRT3 circle line,” he said.

Recently, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the MRT3 circle line was needed but the model must be carefully looked at.

When asked to comment on reports that Gamuda Bhd is looking to fund the MRT3 project for the first two years via a private financing initiative (PFI), which could see the firm take on the role of project manager should the proposal go through, Mohd Zarif said MRT Corp is still evaluating all the PFI proposals, besides looking at the merits of each proposal and eventually coming up with its own requirements and specifications.

“What may have been mentioned [on Gamuda] in the press recently, you can take it as one of the proposals that we are getting out there.

“Many parties have voiced their interest and submitted their proposals. So these are the normal processes where we are engaging with the industry players, learning from them besides looking as part of our stakeholder engagement.

“But eventually we will need to come up with a proposal that fits in our own requirement for MRT3. And once we do that, the intention is to make this requirement known to the public and after that, we hope to invite suitable bids to come in.

“We hope to clear everything before the end of the year. Hopefully by then, we have more things to say on the tender process at the beginning of the year when we come back in January,” said Mohd Zarif.

The Edge Malaysia weekly, quoting sources, reported in its Nov 15-Nov 21 edition that Gamuda is proposing an early-stage funding mechanism for the MRT3 project.

Source: EdgeProp/ Shazni Ong,Nov 16, 2021

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