M'sia-S'pore committed to resolve causeway congestion
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singapore are still committed to resolve congestion issues at their overland border crossings at the Causeway and Second Link.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the issue, which affects hundreds of thousands of commuters who ply the routes daily, was a problem that needed attention.
'Traffic congestion at the Causeway and Second Link remains a major problem for Malaysia-Singapore commuters. Currently, about 250,000 to 300,000 people are crossing the Causeway on a daily basis.
'Resolving congestion is a priority for Malaysia. Both sides are committed to address this issue and will continue to explore new initiatives to tackle this problem.
'This may include improvement in physical infrastructure; review of inter-boundary policies and regulations; and improvement in quality of cross-border services,' said Dr Mahathir.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong after the 9th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat in Perdana Putra here today.
Lee said that the republic had mobilised a plan to expand the customs, immigration and quarantine complex (CIQ) capacity on its side to cater to an increasing number of commuters.
'We have to expand the capacity of the CIQs on both sides to process the people who are crossing because the numbers will grow.
'Singapore has plans to expand our CIQ further and these are things which will take some time but they will eventually make a significant dent in the problem (of congestion),' said Lee.
The serious congestion at the Johor-Singapore Causeway came to light when the New Straits Times highlighted the plight of those commuting daily to Singapore, especially motorcyclists, who often endured hours in gridlock just to get to and from work.
Many motorcyclists left their homes in Johor as early as 4.30am to get through the congested checkpoints on both sides of the Causeway.
On a related matter, Dr Mahathir said the Malaysian government needed to ensure that cross-border railway projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) and Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link were feasible and sustainable.
He said while enhancing public transport connectivity between both countries would give economic benefits, it was the Malaysian government's priority to reduce debt and ensure that only economically viable projects would be carried out.
'For that reason, both sides on Sept 5 last year agreed to suspend the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project.
'Currently, Malaysia is exploring proposals with the aim of cost reduction and will discuss this further with Singapore before the end of the suspension period (May 31, 2020).'
'On the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link project, Singapore is willing to consider suspension of the project. Malaysia is also looking at affordable and sustainable alternatives to the RTS Link project,' said Dr Mahathir.
(Source : News straits times)
(Source : News straits times)