PM Lee: Iskandar a win-win prospect for S’pore and Malaysia

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arriving at Putrajaya for the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat.

Singapore and Malaysia have reaffirmed a commitment to complement one another to bring about a win-win situation for both countries through developments in the Iskandar Malaysia corridor in Johor.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the Malaysian southern economic corridor as a strategic place to raise Malaysia above the global competition. It can also help Singapore maintain its economic competitiveness by complementing the two neighbouring economies, he added.

Lee said a comprehensive view was needed to optimise the potential of Iskandar Malaysia, including in the fields of services, residential properties and industries.

“The great advantage of Iskandar Malaysia is that it sits across the straits (in) Johor and that means you can tap on what Singapore has to offer in terms of infrastructure, financial services (and) industrial base.

“We (Singapore) are upgrading our manufacturing (industries and) our economy (and) there are many pending projects (but) we are not able to accommodate, or we have projects that want to expand but find it difficult with space to expand in Singapore.

“So, I think with the synergy and proximity (of Iskandar Malaysia), it will be a great help to the industries, and it will be a benefit to the workers in Johor because there will be more jobs, opportunities and better pay for the workers,” Lee said at a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, here, yesterday.

Lee had led a delegation for the two-day 5th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat which started on Sunday, a meeting described by Wisma Putra as a platform for leaders of both countries to take stock of their bilateral co-operation.

Site in Sungai Besi chosen for high-speed railway station in KL and Jurong East or Tuas West in Singapore

Bandar Malaysia in Sungai Besi has been chosen as the site for the country’s terminal for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) link service.

The selection of the site was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a joint press conference with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

“We have decided the terminal for the HSR link will be in Bandar Malaysia, which is the current (Royal Malaysian) Air Force base in Sungai Besi.

“The project has created a lot of excitement and both sides are working hard to achieve the 2020 deadline for completion,” he said.

Najib and Lee earlier had a four-eyed meeting in conjunction with the fifth Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat at the Prime Minister’s Office at Perdana Putra Building here.

Both leaders later attended a delegation meeting where the HSR project and the Rapid Transit System (RTS) link between Johor Baru and Singapore were high on their agenda.

The HSR, announced last year, will reportedly cost RM40bil and will cut rail travel time between Kuala Lumpur to Singapore from six hours to just 90 minutes.

The 330km rail line is expected to be completed by 2020 and will connect two terminus stations (Kuala Lumpur and Singapore) via five transit stops spread out across Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor.

Najib also said Malaysia would decide soon on the best option for the RTS.

“We have about 27 possible options to consider to make RTS the most efficient and cost effective transport system that will benefit both nations.

“The first phase of the joint engineering study to develop the possible alignments and proposal for the RTS is already completed,” he said.

Najib said there was also a proposal to build a friendship bridge as a long-term initiative to enhance connectivity.

In a question and answer session later, Najib said the 2020 deadline for the HSR project to complete was decided as he and Lee wanted it to be an ambitious target.

Lee said that for the end point of the project in Singapore, there were three possibilities.

“One is at Tuas West which is close to the border, two is at Jurong East which will be a major transportation, economic and residential zone for Singapore, and third is in the city which would be ideal but actually very difficult to do because the expense would be very high.”

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