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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Johor mulls MRT link between Iskandar and Singapore

JOHOR is studying plans to connect Iskandar Malaysia to Singapore via mass rapid transit (MRT) system over the next five years, now that chances for a third bridge across the causeway get slimmer.

"Maybe it will be interfacing with the Singapore MRT and Iskandar Malaysia's own MRT system, we are working on it now," Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman told reporters on the sideline of Invest Malaysia conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"We are looking at multi-models to boost connectivity with Singapore. We need that in Johor Baru," he said.

He said Singapore has suggested to extend its new Thompson Line, which is now under construction, to Johor Baru. But that line won't be ready until 2018, Ghani said.

Traffic is heavy between the southern state with neighbouring Singapore. Everyday, no less than 60,000 Singporeans enter Malaysia through Johor, Ghani said.

The proposal to build a third link to the island republic has now become a "medium to long term" target, Ghani said, after the Johor Sultan publicly opposed to the idea recently.

The state now plans to boost connectivity between the two region with multiple transport modes. A quick step it can take immediately is to develop a efficient bus system both within Johor and between JB and Singapore, he said.

"We may also look at a commuter train between Johor and Singapore. We will optimise several transport options on the causeway itself," he added.

Meanwhile, the menteri besar said that Johor expects to attract RM9 billion worth of investment this year. The state has pulled in RM2.3 billion in the first quarter.

By Business Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

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