Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) and Hong Kong’s public transport operator and property developer MTR Corp Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop a mixed development project adjacent to the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link’s Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru.
The RTS Link is a cross-border rail link connecting Bukit Chagar to Woodlands in Singapore, scheduled to begin operations in January 2027.
The mixed development project, to be developed on a six-acre land with three million square feet of gross floor area, is estimated to have a gross development value of at least RM3 billion. The masterplan for the project is expected to be unveiled by the end of this year, and completion is anticipated to take at least five years.
The CEO of MRT Corp, Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim, highlighted that the collaboration aims to leverage the “rail plus property” model adopted by Hong Kong to transform the Bukit Chagar station area into an attractive destination for local and international investors.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook also emphasized that Bukit Chagar has the potential to be a catalyst for economic growth in Johor Bahru and could become a central business district (CBD) in the region. The government envisions turning the area into a high economic zone with special incentives and dedicated lanes for immigration clearance for foreigners working in the area.
The funding for the mixed development project will come from investors, and the form of ownership by MRT Corp in the development is yet to be determined, depending on the type of development. However, MRT Corp is expected to own at least 30% to 40% of the overall development.
MTR Corp’s property and international business director, David Tang, expressed hope that the collaboration would pilot Johor Bahru as one of the first rail plus property projects in Malaysia. He noted that in Hong Kong, the company raises its own funds to build, maintain, and upgrade its railway facilities through the “rail plus property” model, and the group encourages the use of public transport by building communities around rail facilities.
MTR Corp is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and is engaged in railway operations, residential and commercial projects, property leasing and management, advertising, telecommunication services, and international consultancy services.