The project was meant to be completed by 2024, but is now behind schedule with Malaysia repeatedly delaying confirmation of its joint venture partner.
According to a bilateral agreement signed in January 2018, a joint venture company comprising Singapore’s SMRT and Malaysia’s Prasarana Malaysia should have been constituted by Jun 30 last year.
The joint venture company should also have been appointed as the RTS Link operator (OpCo) through a Concession Agreement with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority and the government of Malaysia by Sep 30, 2018.
There had been uncertainty over the RTS link project in the wake of the Malaysian general election last May, as the new government reviewed agreements signed by the previous administration.
While Malaysia decided to defer the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project, Mr Loke has previously said that Malaysia remains committed to the RTS project.
The Johor Bahru-Singapore RTS Link, which connects Bukit Chagar to Woodlands, is expected to ferry up to 10,000 passengers per hour each way.
When built, the RTS Link will be the second rail link between the two countries after the KTM West Coast railway line, and the first high-capacity international metro system to be built. The RTS Link is expected to replace the railway line and shuttle train services between JB Sentral and Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
In end-July 2018, Malaysia Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook expressed hope that the project would proceed as planned and that the Malaysian cabinet has given in-principle approval to the project but are still looking into the cost and other details. He also mentioned that the issue of compensation did not apply as the joint operating company was not set up yet. A working paper on the project would be presented to the cabinet soon and the joint operating company would be set up once the full approval is given by the cabinet. Despite the delay, he said that the project would still be completed on time by 2024.
Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry and minerals. It is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, the most valuable exported resource being petroleum. In the agricultural sector, Malaysia is one of the top exporters of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with timber and timber products, cocoa, pepper, pineappleand tobacco dominate the growth of the sector. As of 2011, the percentage arable land in Malaysia is 5.44%. Croplands consists of 17.49% while other land uses consists of 77.07%. As of 2009, irrigated land covers 3,800 km². Total renewable water resources make up 580 cubic km as of 2011.
Tin and petroleum are the two main mineral resources that are of major significance in the Malaysian economy. Malaysia was once the world’s largest producer of tin until the collapse of the tin market in the early 1980s. In the 19th and 20th century, tin played a predominant role in the Malaysian economy, with Malaysia accounting for over 31% of global output. It was only in 1972 that petroleum and natural gas took over from tin as the mainstay of the mineral extraction sector. Other minerals of some importance or significance include copper, bauxite, iron-ore and coal together with industrial minerals like clay, kaolin, silica, limestone, barite, phosphates and dimension stones such as granite as well as marble blocks and slabs. Small quantities of gold are produced.
Malaysia holds proven oil reserves of 4 billion barrels as of January 2014, the fourth-highest reserves in Asia-Pacific after China, India, and Vietnam. Nearly all of Malaysia’s oil comes from offshore fields. The continental shelf is divided into three producing basins: the basin offshore Eastern Peninsular Malaysia in the west and the Sarawak and Sabah basins in the east. Most of the country’s oil reserves are located in the Peninsular basin and tend to be light and sweet crude. Malaysia’s benchmark crude oil, Tapis Blend, is a light and sweet crude oil, with an API gravity of 42.7° and a sulphur content of 0.04% by weight.
Malaysia also holds 83 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2014, and was the third-largest natural gas reserve holder in the Asia-Pacific region after China and Indonesia. More than half of the country’s natural gas reserves are located in its eastern areas, predominantly offshore Sarawak. Most of Malaysia’s gas reserves are associated with oil basins, although Sarawak and Sabah have an increasing amount of non-associated gas reserves that have offset some of the declines from mature oil and gas basins offshore Peninsular Malaysia.
In 2015, Malaysia was the 6th most attractive country for foreign investors, ranked in the Baseline Profitability Index (BPI) published by Foreign Policy Magazine.
The government is moving towards a more business friendly environment by setting up a special task force to facilitate business called PEMUDAH, which means “simplifier” in Malay. Highlights includes easing restrictions and requirement to hire expatriates, shorten time to do land transfers and increasing the limit of sugar storage (a controlled item in Malaysia) for companies.
PEMUDAH has been largely successful at facilitating a more business friendly environment, as reflected by the 2013 rank of Malaysia in the Ease of doing business index.
The NEP is accused of creating an oligarchy, and creating a ‘subsidy mentality’. Political parties such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Democratic Action Party have proposed a new policy which will be equal for every Malaysian, regardless of race. When the Democratic Action Party was elected in the state of Penang in 2008, it announced that it will do away with the NEP, claiming that it “… breeds nepotism, corruption and systemic inefficiency”.
Wolfgang Kasper, a professor of economics at University of New South Wales, and once an adviser to Malaysia’s Finance Ministry, criticised the NEP, saying that “NEP handouts (are) making Malays lazy, corrupt & swell-headed. Worst of all, it keeps them poor.” He also criticised the Federal Government giving cash-handouts and financial aid instead of providing equal access to education to help the marginalised poor to lift their income status.
On 21 April 2009, the prime minister Najib Tun Razak has announced the liberalisation of 27 services sub-sector by abolishing the 30% bumiputera requirement. The move is seen as the government efforts to increase investment in the service sector of the economy. According to the premier, many more sectors of the economy will be liberalised.
On 30 June 2009, the prime minister announces further liberation moves including the dismantling of the Bumiputera equity quotas and repealing the guidelines of the Foreign Investment Committee, which was responsible to monitor foreign shareholding in Malaysian companies. However, any Malaysian companies that wishes to list in Malaysia would still need to offer 50 percent of public shareholding spread to Bumiputera investors.
Malaysia’s biggest problems is Foreign Direct Investments. Investors do not see a level playing field when all rules favor the bumiputera, If you want to be re-elected to focus on malays it is simple. Give them FREE EDUCATION until university where you can subsidise 50%. You should follow China’s model on FDI closely and learn from them. Getting it right means you can start to fulfill all your ambitions sooner. Revive PROTON but since you cannot compete on Electric cars and vehicles concentrated on biofuels which is your goose that lay the golden eggs. Finding the right partners and you can support your investments just by focusing on Asean markets as there is still about 5 years time before the entire world goes electric. Most important is PRICING your cars cheaper than others as now there is no competition in the direction you are heading. DO NOT give up on MALAYSIA AIRLINES. Find the right person who is experienced on economics, management, and technology to turn your airline around. If you cannot compete on international routes just concentrate on domestic routes in Asean. Adopt technologies and automation and learn from AIRASIA. Within 3-5 years you can find all the monies to bring yourself out of all your troubles. Invest in your own future by having reforms, nobody can help you unless you want change, the model for malays to be successful too.
Contributed by Oogle.