A New Chapter in Cross-border Bilateral Ties

SINGAPORE – Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to reduce the toll charges for the Second Link to increase the road connectivity between the two countries.

This was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong after they met for a retreat at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore recently.

The toll charges at both sides of the Second Link, connecting Tuas in Singapore and Tanjung Kupang in Johor, would be reduced significantly, both leaders said at a joint press conference after the retreat.

The new toll charges will be announced within a month.

Datuk Seri Najib said he and Mr Lee agreed that for the two countries to further enhance their bilateral ties, the road connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore needed to be increased and smoothened.

Both leaders also announced that the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on Iskandar Malaysia, tasked to increase the connectivity between the two countries, had agreed on several moves.

Among these, the cross-border scheduled bus services will be doubled with the introduction of eight new additional routes (four from each side) between Pasar Bakti and Larkin in Johor and the two integrated resorts, Boon Lay, Yishun, Newton, and Changi Airport in Singapore; and

The cross-border taxi services will also be liberalised with taxis being allowed to pick up and drop off passengers from any location on the domestic leg of that journey, instead of only at the designated taxi terminals.

The JMC has also formed a Cross-border Land Checkpoint Committee to facilitate cooperation on operational management and cross-border traffic.

Mr Lee and Datuk Seri Najib also discussed the issue of water, in particular the 1961 water agreement which expires next year.

PM Lee said: “There is the Skudai Water Works which is in Johor which Singapore has been using to extract the water from the Skudai River. Singapore will hand over the Skudai Waterworks in good working order to Malaysia gratis on the 31st of August 2011 [Merdeka Raya] when the Water Agreement expires.”

As for the idea of a third link, which was floated when the two Prime Ministers met last year, Datuk Seri Najib said it’s a long term project.

The immediate priority is to optimise the usage of the Second Link.

– Bernama/CNA/ir

[Related : Ex-Malaysian PM, Tun Lah’s comment]

A New Chapter in Cross-border Bilateral Ties

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