Fast border clearance is seen as key to RTS success

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 PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya was urged by a transport expert to devote adequate resources and manpower to ensure the success of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link.

Goh Bok Yen, a transport consultant, said that the RTS has the real potential to catalyze both countries’ economic development.

“Historically, Johor and Singapore have complemented each other very well. They have a great synergy, just like Hong Kong and Shenzhen in mainland China,” said Goh.

In the case of Hong Kong, he said it was way ahead of Shenzhen, but its resources were missing.

“Similarly, Johor has what Singapore doesn’t. It has the manpower and lower costs of living. The RTS can be that catalyst, a gateway for Malaysia to Singapore which is the regional hub for many sectors.”

Goh said it would be difficult for Malaysia to compete with Singapore, but by staying in Johor and studying or working in Singapore, the RTS made it possible and more practical for people to experience the best of both worlds.

The RTS, scheduled for completion in December 2026, will connect Bukit Chagar station to Singapore’s Woodlands. Its maker, MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd, aims to take just 15 minutes for a single ride.

“But the success of RTS hinges on the speed to get from JB to Singapore and vice-versa. The trains can deliver when it comes to travel times but the customs and immigration clearance is the real issue.”

He said in the case of the rail link between Hong Kong and Shenzen, a five-minute customs and immigration clearance was possible because of the technology and manpower involved.

“I have seen it myself, it is very efficient. This is something we can learn from, and invest in the right technologies and the way we manage our resources. We have seen a lot of inefficiency in border crossings, especially at the Causeway which can take a long time.”

Goh said the Causeway was exceptional because of the very high level of traffic. “So we must be proactive to react to this demand, both in terms of technology and efficiency to keep up with this demand.”

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