The realization of major public transport projects in Johor, such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and Light Rail Transit (LRT), will be executed with careful consideration of several factors, including the country’s financial capacity, revealed Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
Loke emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting the development of public transport infrastructure in Johor, albeit in a phased manner. He explained that the implementation of such significant projects must be conducted thoughtfully, taking various factors into account, including financial feasibility.
“…in terms of implementation, it is not that easy. It will take into account various factors, including financial consideration,” he stated during his address after officiating the Johor DAP Convention 2023.
Johor’s Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, while presenting the Johor Budget 2024 on November 23, expressed hope that both the HSR and LRT projects would be realized expeditiously. These projects play a pivotal role in enhancing the region’s transportation ecosystem and positioning Johor as a significant investment destination.
Providing insights into the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project’s progress, Minister Loke disclosed that the Ministry of Transport is currently in the process of conducting a request for information (RFI). The RFI aims to gather proposals from the private sector regarding the project’s implementation.
However, Loke emphasized that the HSR’s funding approach must be rooted in private financing. The feasibility of the project will largely depend on the proposals and initiatives put forth by the private sector. As a result, the ministry is eagerly awaiting proposal papers from interested private sector entities.
Regarding the LRT project in Johor, Loke highlighted that its execution requires thorough planning and detailed considerations, encompassing cost analysis, route alignment, and technical aspects. The collaboration between the federal government and the state government will be instrumental in advancing this project.
In another noteworthy development, Minister Loke announced a potential structural adjustment for Malaysians using the Shuttle Tebrau service between Johor Bahru and Woodlands in Singapore. The proposal entails offering Malaysian citizens a flat rate of RM5 per trip, aligning the fare for both one-way journeys.
Currently, a one-way ticket from Johor Bahru to Woodlands is priced at RM5, while the return ticket from Woodlands to Johor Bahru costs S$5 (approximately RM17.30). The proposed fare restructuring aims to provide a more affordable and equitable pricing structure for Malaysians utilizing this cross-border service.
Minister Loke acknowledged the impending cessation of the Shuttle Tebrau service once the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project becomes operational in 2027. Nonetheless, he emphasized that the revised fare rate would serve as a significant benefit for Malaysians, particularly those who commute daily between Johor and Singapore during the transitional period.
The initiatives discussed by Minister Loke reflect the government’s commitment to enhancing transportation connectivity in Johor while ensuring prudent financial management and equitable access for citizens.