Singapore, Malaysia to finalise land swop deal in 3 months

Singapore and Malaysia expect to conclude a deal on exchanging land parcels between both sides in three months. The prime ministers of both countries met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Tuesday.

One outcome is that they agreed to reduce the toll charges for motorists using a link which connects the countries.

The meeting was a follow-up on their retreat in Singapore last month.

A key item – details on how both countries will exchange land parcels following the Malaysian railway station’s move from Singapore city centre at Tanjong Pagar to a location closer to the border at Woodlands by 1st July 2011.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “I have made the prime minister a proposal laying out several variations for the prime minister to choose from. He has raised some issues which we are in discussion. As the prime minister said we aim to settle within 3 months.”

Mr Najib gave the assurance that the concept of joint development remains.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said: “The spirit of our discussion today was very warm, very positive and I thank Prime Minister Lee for being as flexible as possible with the intention that there will be a final resolution of the POA issue.

“Our positions would still be to look at the land swap – the parcels of land with respect to Marina South and Ophir-Rochor, the details of which will be considered. And we will convey to the Singapore government in due course within the 3-month time frame. So the whole concept of joint development still remains.”

Being discussed – three land parcels in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands and three others in Bukit Timah could be swapped for land of equivalent value in the Marina South and Ophir-Rochor area.

Both leaders said they had a productive meeting on the land swap offer and discussed some initial response.

Prime Minister Lee revealed that he had sent up Singapore’s National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan a few days ago to present the land swap proposal to the Malaysian leader and Malaysia has been studying the proposal for the past few days.

PM Lee added: “I have brought up with me an offer on the land swap issue which is the only outstanding issue on the POA. In fact I had sent up Minister Mah Bow Tan a few days ago to convey the offer to the Prime Minister and explain the offer.

“So Malaysia has been looking at it for the last few days and I had a useful exchange with the Prime Minister today and we exchanged some preliminary perspectives and views.

“But this is a major decision so Malaysia will think it over and Singapore will take back the comments Malaysia has made and we will consider them and we look forward to settling the matter within three months.

“It should be settled soon because it is something we want to clear expeditiously. Three months meaning the end of September, it will be soon after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, so I think that’s a good moment to have a final settlement of this matter.”

The good news is the reduction of toll charges by 30 per cent from August for motorists using the second link which connects both countries.

Passenger cars for example currently pay RM10.80 and S$4.60 respectively to use the second link and that’s set to go down even further.

The leaders feel this will boost traffic.

PM Lee continued: “It is good news for Singaporeans going to Malaysia and Malaysians coming to Singapore. And may many more Singaporeans and Malaysians do so.”

Mr Lee said other issues like the use of Malaysian airspace and withdrawal of CPF monies by Malaysians working in Singapore would be progressively resolved.

That’s because the focus of their meeting was the POA, something both sides decided as a priority.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 Jun 2010

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