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Najib sees decades of profit for 'cronies' with RTS privatisation

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The proposed privatisation of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link will ensure "cronies" profit for decades to come, warns Najib Abdul Razak.

The former prime minister explained in a Facebook post last night that the RTS Link was originally conceived as a 50-50 joint venture between Malaysian and Singapore GLCs.

"The previous BN government appointed Prasarana, which is owned by the government, and Singapore appointed SMRT that is owned by their government," his post reads.

"Each day, hundreds of thousands would use RTS to go to and from Singapore. The project’s profitability is near certain. That is why Singapore is appointing its government-owned company to handle it.

"Now, Pakatan Harapan wants a crony private company to extract profit for decades, although it is a public amenity that should benefit the people and not cronies."

Transport Minister Anthony Loke signed an agreement with his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan yesterday to defer the project for six months, at a cost of RM2 million to Malaysia.

This, Loke said, is to allow Putrajaya more time to find more affordable and sustainable means to address traffic congestion at the border, including privatising the rail project worth an estimated RM4 billion.

"What we want to see is not only a completed project, but also lower fares for passengers," he told reporters.

"The fare structure agreed to previously was quite high – RM15 for a one-way ticket.

"We believe this will be a burden to Malaysians, especially to those who commute to Singapore for work every day."

According to Loke, Putrajaya believes that the project can be carried out with a lower price tag, and hopes the cost can be undertaken by the private sector.

However, he said no private firm has been identified as yet for the project, although several have already sent in their proposals.


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