ISKANDAR PUTERI: The High Speed Rail (HSR) to link Malaysia and Singapore is on track after Singapore's parliament introduced a bill yesterday to support the mega project.
Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state government welcomed the tabling of the bill.
He said the bill showed proof that the project was progressing according to schedule.
"The bill is based on what has been planned (for the HSR project), and it is nothing new.
"It proves that HSR's development is moving according to plan," Hasni told reporters after chairing a meeting with the Johor Road Safety Department in Kota Iskandar today.
On Tuesday, a bill to support the construction, operation and regulation of the HSR and Rapid Transit System (RTS) projects, both linking the two countries by rail, was introduced in the Singapore parliament.
Singapore’s The Straits Times reported that the Cross-Border Railways Bill would provide licensing for operators to run train services and maintain the rail link assets; appointments of independent safety auditors for the project; and look into the funding for construction.
The bill reportedly empowered Singapore government to suspend cross-border train services when there were imminent risks to commuter safety, including in cases of malfunctions of the service or terrorist act.
The bill was tabled by the republic's Second Transport Minister Ng Chee Meng, and it will be tabled for a second reading at the next parliament sitting.
The Malaysian and Singaporean governments signed an agreement on Dec 13, last year to build the 350km railway project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The project is estimated to cost around RM50 billion to RM60 billion.
The rail line will cut travel time between the two capitals to 90 minutes and is slated for completion in 2026.
The HSR will comprise of a 335km-long railway portion in Malaysia with the remaining 15km in Singapore.
Hasni said the introduction of the bill also signalled further progress for the RTS project, another major rail link connecting Singapore and Johor Baru.
He said further details of the RTS would be known when the governments of both countries signed a bilateral agreement on the RTS in December.
"I believe that the bilateral discussion that is planned between Malaysia and Singapore regarding the RTS, will shed more light on the details of the project," said Hasni.
The RTS project was announced by the Malaysian and Singaporean governments seven years ago to provide an alternative for 80,000 to 100,000 people who commuted via the Causeway daily.
The project is expected to be completed in 2024, can likely handle up to 10,000 passengers an hour in each direction between its terminus stations in Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru and Woodlands in Singapore.