$880m light rail linking Malaysia to Singapore is back on

Plans for an $880m light railway linking Malaysia’s southern state of Johor to next-door Singapore have been revived, with Malaysia’s transport minister announcing yesterday that an agreement between the two countries will be formalised on 30 July.

Agreed in 2018, the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link was suspended last year by Malaysia’s then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on grounds of fiscal probity. Mahathir resigned amid a political crisis in February this year.

The 4km railway, crossing the Johor Straits by bridge, would link Tanjung Puteri, Johor Bahru and Singapore, with the aim of easing traffic congestion on the Johor-Singapore Causeway.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the deal would be signed on the Causeway in a brief ceremony witnessed by the prime ministers of both countries, reports The Jakarta Post.

"Our expectation is by the end of 2026, we will see the start of RTS operations between Johor Bahru and Singapore," Wee told a news conference.

Singapore will bear 61% of the costs and Malaysia the remainder, the Post reported.

A new Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in in March after Mahathir’s resignation.

Image: For illustration, a 2014 interpretation of the RTS Link crossing the Johor Straits between southern Malaysia and Singapore (Seloloving/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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