JOHOR BARU, Jan 1 — Johor’s DAP state lawmakers has urged Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government to immediately submit a proposal to replace the now terminated Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project to drive economic growth in the state and enhance regional connectivity.
In a statement, they said the state assembly Opposition will soon submit a proposal for the development of a transport infrastructure network in the areas involved to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad for the overall well-being of all Johoreans.
“Johor is the fourth largest contributor to Malaysia’s overall economic growth with RM134 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).
“However, the transport infrastructure network does not translate to the economic contribution,” read the statement issued here.
The statement was jointly issued by DAP’s Skudai assemblyman Tan Hong Pin, Mengkibol assemblyman Chew Chong Sin, Pekan Nanas assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong, Bentayan assemblyman Ng Yak Howe and Penggaram assemblyman Gan Peck Cheng.
The statement explained that Johor’s transportation system’s weaknesses have been emphasised as the core and focus by the state government through the Johor Sustainable Development Plan 2030.
“The west coast corridors that include the districts of Johor Baru, Pontian, Batu Pahat and Muar play an important role in the economic growth and development of the state.
“However, the lack of transport infrastructure in the area indirectly hampers efforts to develop small and medium enterprises (SME).
“Therefore, the Johor transport infrastructure network needs to be expedited to meet the needs of economic growth, including the Federal Route 5 and the two-lane North-South Expressway in the state that are no longer able to meet the needs and even hampers logistics management due to serious congestion problems,” said the statement.
In the meantime, the statement also highlighted that any realignment of the HSR project without involving Singapore and ending in Johor Baru is feared to be a white elephant as there is no regional economic appeal and impact.
“It should be clarified that the main attraction of the HSR project is to save passenger transportation time through the introduction of an integrated boundary clearance system (joint boundary clearance).”
The statement also took issue with the Putrajaya as it pointed out that eight Johoreans who are members of the Cabinet and deputy ministers should play their role and take the opportunity to urge Putrajaya to immediately implement Johor’s transport infrastructure network’s transformation measures.
“In this regard, the government is urged to plan and implement upgrading measures in the existing infrastructure network in improving the logistics efficiency and regional economic connectivity thus contributing to the rapid economic growth of Johor.
Earlier, Malaysia and Singapore both issued separate statements to announce the automatic termination of the HSR Bilateral Agreement this morning.
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said Putrajaya had allowed the HSR bilateral agreement to be terminated and has agreed to compensate the island republic for costs already incurred in fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.
Malaysia, on the other hand, said it would honour its obligations under the HSR Bilateral Agreement with Singapore and pay compensation.