Last Updated on 2022-08-15 , 9:58 am
Remember the times when we had to wait two hours to cross the checkpoint just to eat our favorite herbal Bak Kut Teh, and then getting scolded by our significant other because they think Singapore’s white pepper Bak Kut Teh is superior, thus not worth the long wait?
Don’t worry, I have been there, too.
If you frequent Malaysia often, be it to eat their food or go for those cheap massages, good news for you: Singapore and Malaysia have recently agreed to cooperate on studying ways to increase connectivity between the two states for pedestrians as well as cyclists.
Better Cross-Border Connectivity for Pedestrians and Cyclists
Cycling is such a trend in Singapore now that not owning at least a Decathlon bike will, and I mean confirm-plus-chop, make you the joke of the office during lunch breaks. This is evident in 2020 when there was a 68% rise in ridership, most probably due to COVID-19, where many people picked up new hobbies.
According to the Minister for Transport, Mr S Iswaran, Singapore and Malaysia will be working closely together to study various ways through the Transportation Links Work Group to improve cross-border travel for pedestrians and cyclists.
Discussions were apparently held after Singapore Development Minister Desmond Lee, Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed in Iskandar Malaysia, Transport Minister S. Iswaran and Johor Menteri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi cycled 4.2km across the border to a local coffee shop to have breakfast.
This is important and amazing news for citizens of both states because waiting in the jam isn’t really anybody’s favourite pastime. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 260,000 people actually cross the border daily, which means that better connectivity will definitely save time and make it more convenient for people to get around the two countries.
In addition, after the launch of the new ferry service between Tanah Merah and Desaru last month, there’s now a possibility of yet another ferry service, this time from Puteri Harbour, on the southern coast of Johor, to Tuas.
Whether it’ll be ready in 2023 or 2320, no one knows but at least, we now know that travelling to Johor is no longer restricted to land transport.
Cooperation of Electric Vehicles
During the 15th Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), the ministers also mentioned that they will continue to study the proposal to set up a Work Group on Food Ecosystem Cooperation and enhance cooperation on the electric vehicles ecosystem by coordinating standards to give electric vehicles the ability to operate in both states seamlessly.
In simpler terms, this means that they are trying to work on things such as the use of similar software and hardware to ensure that the electric vehicles have the tools to operate in either states.
Well, this is probably good news for the few lucky ones who own a Tesla in Singapore and Malaysia.
JB-SG MRT to be Ready by 2027
Lest you’ve forgotten, the JB-SG MRT line, formally known as the RTS Link, is on track to open by 2027.
While there had been multiple delays in the past, construction has begun, and it should be completed by December 2026, and operational in 2027.
Singapore is developing the Woodlands North Station, while Malaysia will be building its Bukit Chagar Station.
The RTS Link tunnels will be connected to a viaduct that runs 25 metres above the Straits of Johor, thus connecting the two stations together.
Besides serving transit-oriented purposes, there will be an adjoining transport hub and mixed property development.
In all likelihood, there will be malls and other facilities, since the area is almost akin to an economic zone, with the plans that the Malaysian government has in mind.
The whole project is estimated to cost RM10 billion (S$3.25 billion), with Singapore bearing 61% of the cost.
Progress on Bilateral Work Groups
Many bilateral work groups that covered things such as the environment, immigration, innovation and tourism were also discussed during the yearly meeting.
Hopefully, this means that progress is being made on topics such as how to deal with chemical spillage at places like the Malaysia-Singapore second crossing and how to mitigate the potential negative impacts of reclamation works at the Strait of Johor.
With Singapore hosting Malaysia next year, maybe our ministers can also bring them to a coffee shop to see whose Kopi Siew Dai or Kaya Toast is nicer.
And if you’re indeed heading to Malaysia, watch this video so you won’t be blacklisted (or Stomped):
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Featured Image: Roman Shyrokov / Shutterstock.com
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