Monday, 24 May 2010

Finally some concrete agreements between Malaysia and Singapore

Syabas, Congratulations where it is due, today 24 May 2010 Najib and Hsien Loong, Two leaders with no baggage from the past were able to “finally” resolve the longstanding KTM land issue without the usual grandstanding between the two sides, and here is some good news for all Johoreans in particular and Malaysians in general, Hsien Loong also promised to return the waterworks in Johor namely the Gunung Pulai, Sungai Skudai and Teberau Water works under the 1961 Water Agreement (refer: when it expires, back to the Johor Water authority in 2011 next year in good working condition. I however note that both were silent on the water rates which is still a contentious issue I guess to be settled after further rounds of golf probably in Putrajaya next time they know this things takes time kena perlahan-perlahan.

Looking at the brighter side there are many things that have been agreed on cross border travels,tourism and The Iskandar Development in particular, but I just hope that Khazanah Nasional do not cock up in the M-S Joint Venture company with Temasek and lose a 60% equity advantage in a blink. In this respect a Parliamentary All Party Committee (YB Tony Pua should be in the Committee) should be set up to oversee Khazanah’s performance in the JV Development company with Temasek. You knowlah with this trend about GLC’s cock ups overseas Sime Darby losing Multi million and Maybank losing money in banking in Indonesia somebody should be responsible for oversight duties as the Board of Directors seemed not very effective.

The rest of the historic agreement is here for better or for worse:


1. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak met in Singapore on 24 May 2010 for the Leaders’ Retreat.Both Leaders expressed their satisfaction at the present state of relations and cooperation between the two countries. Both Leaders discussed a wide of range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, in particular enhanced bilateral relations and new initiatives for cooperation.

2. Both Leaders are pleased to note that in furtherance to the spirit of enhanced bilateral relations, the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru started operations since 4 January 2010.

3. Both Leaders are pleased to announce that as a result of the various discussions undertaken by the Joint Ministerial Committee on Iskandar Malaysia (JMC), the following have been agreed so as to increase connectivity between
the two countries:-

• Cross-border scheduled bus services will be doubled with the introduction of 8 new additional routes (4 from each side) between Pasar Bakti and Larkin in Johor and the two Integrated Resorts, Boon Lay, Yishun, Newton and Changi Airport in Singapore; and

• Cross border taxi services will also be liberalised with taxis being allowed to pick up and drop off passengers from any location on the domestic leg of that journey, instead of only at the designated taxi terminals.

• The Malaysian Automated Clearance System had been implemented to facilitate cross-border immigration clearance for frequent travellers between the two countries;

• A Cross Border Land Checkpoints Committee had also been formed to facilitate cooperation on operational management of cross-border traffic;

• On tourism, both countries are looking into the possibility of twinning an eco-tourism product;

• To share experiences and jointly develop plans for river cleaning in line with the efforts being undertaken in Iskandar Malaysia; and

• To optimise further existing road connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore, in particular through increased utilisation of the Second Link.

To this end, the two Leaders have agreed that the toll charges for the Second Link will be significantly reduced on both sides. The reduced toll charges will be announced within a month.

4. Both Leaders also discussed issues arising from the Points of Agreement (POA) on Malayan Railway Lands in Singapore and reached an understanding to move the issues forward. In this regard, the POA shall be supplemented by new terms and conditions to maximise the full potentials of the MRA Lands in Singapore.

To that effect, both Leaders agreed to undertake the following steps:-

• The Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) station will be relocated from Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) by 1 July 2011.

Malaysia would co-locate its railway CIQ facilities at WTCP.

Singapore would facilitate the relocation to the WTCP and ensure bus service connectivity from the KTMB Station at WTCP to a nearby MRT Station for the convenience of train passengers.

• A company known as M-S Pte Ltd will be established as soon as practicable but not later than 31 December 2010 with Malaysia’s 60% held by Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Singapore’s 40% held by Temasek Holdings Limited.

• The three parcels of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands and three additional pieces of land in Bukit Timah (Lot 76-2 Mk 16, Lot 249 Mk 4 and Lot 32-10 Mk 16) will be vested in M-S Pte Ltd for joint development,which in turn, could be swapped, on the basis of equivalent value for pieces of land in Marina South and/or Ophir-Rochor. Both sides will conduct their respective valuations and Prime Minister Lee will visit Kuala Lumpur within a month with a proposal for the land swap for Malaysia’s consideration.

• The transfer of the said land parcels to M-S Pte Ltd will take effect at the
time when KTMB vacates Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (TPRS).

• A rapid transit system link between Tanjung Puteri, Johor Bahru and Singapore aimed at enhancing connectivity between the two countries will be jointly developed. The rapid transit system link will be integrated with public transport services in both Johor Bahru and Singapore. For the convenience of commuters, the rapid transit system link will have a single co-located CIQ facility in Singapore with the exact location to be determined later. It is targeted that the proposed rapid transit system link
will be operational by 2018. Thereafter Malaysia may consider to relocate the KTMB Station from Woodlands to Johor.

5. Both Leaders agreed to task a joint implementation team, to be led by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia and the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore to further discuss the
implementation details, which among others, would include as follows:-

• establishment and the framework governing the M-S Pte.Ltd;

• rapid transit system connectivity between Johor Bahru and Singapore; and

• co-located CIQ in Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

6. The joint implementation team will complete its works by 31 December 2010.

7. The outcome reached by the joint implementation team on the matters discussed should be reflected in a written instrument to be signed by both countries upon approval from their respective Governments.

8. Both Leaders agreed that the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Passenger Terminal building would be conserved given its historical significance and would be a centerpiece for the new proposed development on the site. In addition, the old Bukit Timah Railway Station building at Blackmore Drive can also be conserved.

9. Both Leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation in the joint iconic project in Iskandar Malaysia. The Leaders support the “live work play” wellness township concept proposed by the Joint Ministerial Committee on Iskandar Malaysia (JMC) which will offer holistic wellness services and facilities. The proposed iconic project will involve a sizeable development of up to 500 acres of land, designed to be vibrant, culturally distinctive, yet socially harmonious and environmentally friendly. A unique feature of the proposed iconic project will be the encapsulation of “wellness” within activities throughout the township,alongside the integration of traditional healing methods, complementary alternative medicine and modern treatments. Both Leaders agreed that Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings Limited will form a 50-50 joint venture company to undertake the development of the iconic wellness township project in Iskandar Malaysia which would involve the participation of private sectors from both countries. Both Leaders look forward to the launching of the project within a year.

10. Prime Minister Lee informed Prime Minister Najib Razak that upon the expiry of the 1961 Water Agreement, Singapore would hand over the waterworks under the 1961 Water Agreement to the Johor water authorities free of charge and in good working order.

11. Prime Minister Lee and Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed satisfaction that the arrangements relating to the POAwould facilitate resolution of the issue which has been outstanding for more than 19 years. Both Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment towards further strengthening bilateral relations and mutual collaboration in various areas.

Again Congratulations to DS Najib...I think job well done.

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