KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link ground-breaking ceremony was held yesterday, kicking off construction works for the long-awaited infrastructure project.

In a statement yesterday, Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) said the ceremony was carried out at the site of the future Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (ICQ) Building in Bukit Chagar, Johor.

The ceremony was officiated virtually by Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar from Istana Bukit Serene.

"The RTS Link between Malaysia and Singapore will be a railway service with two stations, one at Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, and the other at Woodlands North in Singapore. The link is targeted to begin operations by the end of 2026 and will provide an easy and efficient border crossing between Malaysia and Singapore," said the statement.

MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said the RTS will cost Malaysia RM3.7 billion, which includes the construction of a station at Bukit Chagar, depot at Wadi Hana, viaducts through the city centre of Johor Bahru and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysia-Singapore boundary.

In addition, the cost also covers the construction of the four-storey CIQ complex, which will be part of a transit-oriented development that will also feature a multimodal transport hub and mixed property development.

According to him, Adil Permata Sdn Bhd, which is the developer of these property projects, has been appointed a contractor to undertake advance works such as site clearing, utility relocation works, and others.

"Forty per cent of the total infrastructure construction cost will be allocated to bumiputera contractors, including those from Grade 1 to Grade 6 from Johor," he said, adding that as the depot is located at Wadi Hana, there will be many opportunities for local businesses to participate in the maintenance, repair and overhaul supply chain and in building local expertise in the rail technology industry.

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