The Sultan of Johor has spoken against the design of the proposed rail track linking Woodlands in Singapore and Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru, and questioned the involvement of government-owned firm Prasarana Malaysia Bhd in the project.
“Why must it be Prasarana? Why not the Johor government?” asked Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in an interview with New Straits Times today.
“The project is entirely in Johor; so why should Prasarana be involved? Let the Johor government and Singapore have a joint-venture and I can raise funds if need be.”
The rail track which includes a 30m-high bridge comes under the Rapid Transit System (RTS), the latest link to serve travellers who use the Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore.
Both Prasarana and Singapore’s SMRT Corp are currently negotiating the joint venture.
Sultan Ibrahim said the design of the bridge was impractical, costly and would disrupt the state capital Johor Bahru’s skyline.
“The design matters to us and by ‘us’, I mean Johor,” he said.
He urged for a review of the whole design, saying the current curve-shaped design was not only costly but also impractical.
“Go back to the drawing board and review the overall plan.”
Sultan Ibrahim said he should be consulted for any project involving his state.
“Whatever (new plan) is presented to me, it will have to be logical, economical and sustainable for the benefit of not only Johoreans but all Malaysians and Singaporeans.”
During the interview, the ruler sketched a design, saying a straighter track which is closer to the Causeway was more practical.
“Why do they need an elevated bridge with up to 30m air draft (clearance height from water to a vessel’s height) unless there are plans to remove the Causeway?” he asked.