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Singapore and Malaysia Strengthen Ties with MOU on Special Economic Zone with Johor; RTS Link is 65% Completed

Singapore and Malaysia achieved several significant bilateral milestones, further strengthening their relationship. During Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s working visit to Johor, Malaysia, progress on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link was commemorated, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed for a special economic zone (SEZ) between Singapore and Johor.

Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link:

  • The completion of the RTS Link is celebrated, with a connecting span that links the Malaysia and Singapore ends.
  • The project has reached 65% completion as of December 31, 2023.
  • The RTS Link is on track to begin operations by December 2026, aiming to improve connectivity and reduce congestion between the two countries.
  • The 4 km cross-border rail shuttle service will connect Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru and the RTS Link Woodlands North station in Singapore, with a journey time of about five minutes.
  • The service will have the capacity to carry 10,000 passengers an hour in each direction.

Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ):

  • An MOU for the JS-SEZ was signed to improve cross-border flows of goods and people, and increase investment.
  • The SEZ aims to enhance cross-border links, support businesses, and create jobs on both sides of the Causeway.
  • Both countries will work towards a “full-fledged” agreement on the JS-SEZ, with an update to be given at the next Malaysia-Singapore leaders’ retreat.
  • A framework will be developed to determine economic sectors of mutual interest, geographical coverage, and other details for the legally-binding agreement.
  • The JS-SEZ is considered an unprecedented opportunity to elevate the economic attractiveness of both Johor and Singapore.
  • Initiatives include promoting a more seamless flow of goods, enabling freer movement of professionals, managers, executives, and technicians, strengthening the business ecosystem, and exploring renewable energy cooperation.

The MOU establishes a joint committee to oversee its implementation, co-led by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Malaysia’s Ministry of Economy. The JS-SEZ builds on the strong growth of Johor and significant investments in the region by Singapore. Both countries are exploring additional initiatives to further develop the JS-SEZ, including a one-stop business and investment service center, digitized processes for cargo clearance, co-organized events, and renewable energy cooperation. The JS-SEZ is expected to contribute to the economic prosperity of both Singapore and Johor.

The Business Times

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