SINGAPORE: Singapore's transport ministry said the architectural and engineering consultancy study for the Rapid Transit System (RTS) linking Johor and Singapore is currently on-going, and its first phase is nearing completion.
The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) for Iskandar Malaysia (IM) will then decide on the option for the RTS Link to be further studied as part of the second phase of the study.
Both countries have agreed for both sides to co-locate their Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities at both the Singapore and Johor Bahru (JB) stations, so that cross-border commuters on the RTS Link need to clear immigration only once at either station.
This means that those who are taking the RTS Link from Woodlands in Singapore will clear both Singapore and Malaysian Customs before boarding the train and need not clear again when they arrive at JB.
A similar arrangement will also be in place for those from JB taking the RTS Link into Singapore.
Meanwhile, outgoing Johor Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman on Thursday took his electoral fight to Singapore - by taking a bus down to meet factory workers in the Republic.
Mr Abdul Ghani travelled by bus from Gelang Patah in Johor to Jurong East bus interchange in Singapore.
It was his first time travelling on the Causeway Link bus and he noted that the journey took more than an hour.
The Chief Minister wanted to experience what it was like for Malaysians who travel to Singapore daily.
And he said commuting will be more efficient once the Rapid Transit System is ready.
He said: "A lot more people can be moved with the RTS. The capacity with be enough, the speed will be fast enough, and people will be moved into Singapore and back more efficiently.
"So, that will definitely reduce congestion as a result of the daily usage of the causeway or the second link."
The Rapid Transit System is aimed at enhancing connectivity between the two countries.
It will also be integrated with public transport services in both Johor Baru and Singapore.
Some 100,000 workers in Johor commute to Singapore every day. To help commuters move more speedily, there is a possibility of making the CIQ facilities more efficient.
Caretaker Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman is suggesting to have a single CIQ complex for both countries.
He said: “Of course it should be enhanced with a joint CIQ; if that takes place then it will achieve the most optimum objective of an RTS."
In Sunday's general elections, Mr Abdul Ghani is contesting the parliamentary seat of Gelang Patah against the Democratic Action Party's Lim Kit Siang.
And as the campaign draws to a close, he remains upbeat about his chances.
“There is very solid support in some (groups), improvement in support from some other sources, at the same time there is sufficient support from elsewhere," he said.
There are 26 federal and 56 state seats at stake in Johor, which is seen as Barisan Nasional's stronghold.
But the opposition has set its sights on Johor in this election and sent its big players to contest in the state. - CNA/ir/ck
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