Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, who is on a one-day introductory visit to Malaysia, said the tender for the project will be called in the fourth quarter of the year. Engineering companies from both sides of the Causeway will be invited to take part in the tender.
Mr Lui’s visit follows closely on a series of introductory visits to Malaysia by Singapore Cabinet ministers in recent weeks.
He met for almost an hour with his Malaysian counterpart Kong Cho Ha at the Transport Ministry in Putrajaya.
Both ministers also updated each other on the progress of the RTS, which is part of the land swap agreement signed by both countries in June to free up Malaysian railway land in Singapore for joint development.
Said Mr Lui: “It’s (RTS development) on track. We are due to put out a tender for engineering studies in the fourth quarter of this year. The preparatory work has almost been done (and) a tender will be put out in both Malaysia and Singapore. We’ll have a joint team to evaluate this and select a consultant.”
According to Mr Lui, the study will be done in two phases. Under the first phase, which takes 11 months, an engineering consultant will be picked to look into all options available and advise both countries on difficulties and challenges under each option.
The joint ministerial committee will then decide on which option to go for before the second phase begins.
“Because of such complexities, it will take another 18 months thereafter once we decide on the option,” added Mr Lui.
Malaysia said it prefers the RTS to be linked to Singapore via an undersea tunnel.
Mr Kong said: “That will free up space above the sea for other activities but (the decision) will depend on the outcome of the study. And also, we still have to agree on the implementation.”
Apart from the RTS, Malaysia is also looking at building a high-speed rail link from the capital Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru.