Transport cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Commemoration ceremony of RTS Link Grantor Agreement and Singapore-Malaysia Vaccinated Travel Lane; Image by S Iswaran_Facebook

Singapore, 29 November 2021 – Transport cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia was enhanced over the past week amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. On 24 November 2021, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore and the Government of Malaysia as represented by the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia—the two concession authorities for the Government of the Republic of Singapore and the Government of Malaysia accordingly (or Grantors) for the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link—concluded the RTS Link Grantor Agreement.

This agreement follows from the concession agreement that was concluded on 30 July 2020 when the RTS Link Project was successfully resumed and stipulated the responsibilities of the two Grantors in carrying out their roles and obligations concerning matters relating to the concession agreement.

The RTS Link is a cross-border rail service between the Singapore station at Woodlands North and Malaysia station at Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru. With a large capacity of up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction and a journey time of about five minutes between the two stations, the RTS Link will provide a fast and convenient way to travel between Singapore and Johor Bahru, when it begins passenger service by the end of 2026.

Today, travel between Singapore and Malaysia was also boosted with the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane for air transport (VTL-Air) and land transport (VTL-Land) across the land links. Vaccinated travellers on the VTL-Air and VTL-Land would be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Malaysia.

The VTL-Air commenced with six-passenger flight services between Singapore Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Pre-COVID-19, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air route was the busiest international air route in the world. At the same time, the VTL-Land commenced with two bus services providing 32 two-way trips between Singapore and Johor Bahru. The VTL-Air and VTL-Land are significant steps towards restoring transport connectivity between Singapore and Malaysia safely and gradually.

These developments were welcomed and commemorated during the working visit to Singapore by Malaysia’s Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, at the invitation of Singapore’s Minister for Transport, S Iswaran.

S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, said, “Malaysia is Singapore’s closest neighbour, and we have longstanding economic and people-to-people ties. The progress made on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link Project and the resumption of air and land travel between our two countries are key to restoring ties and reviving our economies.  I look forward to working closely with the Malaysian government and my counterpart Dr Wee Ka Siong to strengthen further transport cooperation and bilateral ties between Singapore and Malaysia.”

Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, Malaysia’s Minister of Transport, said, “We very much welcome and applaud these latest milestones in our shared efforts to rejuvenate our economic linkages and reconnect our peoples following the pandemic’s impact. The journey to realise the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link continues with this Grantor Agreement as a major step in this landmark project’s progress. We are also pleased with the start of the VTL for land and air travel between Malaysia and Singapore to revitalise our long-standing cultural and economic partnerships across the causeway. Minister of Transport will continue to work with our Singapore counterparts to continue the momentum to improve transport linkages and cooperation between us.”

– Construction+ Online

Source: MOT