Thursday February 14, 2008
MRT service to IDR being studied
COMMUTERS might be able to take the MRT to Johor one day.
Singapore and Malaysia have formed a working group to look at ways of improving transport links between the two countries.
One option being considered is to run Singapore’s MRT network into Johor, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport revealed on Tuesday.
If that gets the green light, The Straits Times understands the cross-border MRT service could start at the Woodlands station here and end at the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).
The area is a special economic zone spanning 2,200 sq km in south-west Johor – where a monorail system is proposed.
Both Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi agreed last May to set up the working group to find ways to create a hassle-free commute between the two countries.
But observers said several issues had to be addressed before this can happen.
One of the first challenges facing the working group is seeing whether a smart card can be used to allow citizens of the two countries to clear Immigration without having to wait for their passports to be stamped.
This is not the first time proposals have been made involving a northern expansion of the republic’s MRT system.
Back in 1997, then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong said a proposed electric train service from Malaysia could have terminals in Scotts Road, Suntec City or Marina South – locations with existing or planned MRT stations.
Former Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, however, preferred the service “to terminate at Tanjong Pagar.”
While an MRT service to Johor Baru is still a vague proposition, relief may well be at hand for those who are caught regularly in the Causeway crush. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network