Fast border clearance seen as key to RTS success

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A transport expert has urged Putrajaya to allocate sufficient resources and manpower for the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link to ensure its success.

Goh Bok Yen, a transport consultant, said the RTS has real potential to catalyse the economic growth of both countries.

“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.

He said in the case of Hong Kong, it was way ahead of Shenzhen but lacked its resources.

“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 the RTS made it possible and more feasible for people to enjoy the best of both worlds by living in Johor but studying or working in Singapore.

The RTS, which is set to be completed in December 2026, will link the Bukit Chagar station to Woodlands in Singapore. Its developer, MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd is aiming for a single trip to take only 15 minutes.

“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 unique 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.” -FMT

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