KUALA LUMPUR: The government does not anticipate any significant cost increases for the Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) infrastructure project until the end of the construction period, as the project is in its final phase.

Deputy Finance Minister Lim Hui Ying said that the construction phase of the RTS Link project is expected to be completed by December this year, except for the facade construction works at Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru, which will continue until 2026.

“All work contracts have also been awarded,” she said while wrapping up the motion on the Auditor-General’s Report debate in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim also said the RTS Link operations will be commercially managed by RTS Operations Pte Ltd, a joint venture company between Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Singapore’s SMRT.

The deputy minister said the fare for RTS travel needs to be set at a reasonable and affordable rate, subject to the users’ ability to ensure operational route requirements are met.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report Series 2/2024 released on July 4, the estimated infrastructure cost for the RTS Link project increased by 29.9 per cent, or RM1.207 billion, to RM5.245 billion as of December 31, 2023, compared to the original estimated cost of RM4.038 billion in January 2018.

The RTS Link project is a 4km shuttle train network connecting Malaysia with Singapore, covering the route between two stations: Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North in Singapore.

Touching on MRT Corp’s dependence on the government, Lim said the government is exploring leasing methods for rail system components, including trains, to reduce the financial burden on the government in the future.

“MRT Corp is a company established specifically to implement rail infrastructure projects. Therefore, civil structure construction costs are usually fully funded by the government,” she said.