SINGAPORE: To ease congestion along the Causeway during peak periods, the toll for the Second Link in Tuas may be reviewed to make it more attractive for use, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He added on Tuesday (Jan 16) that he, like Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, thinks there is a need to look into the situation and resolve it.

There is "significant congestion" along the Causeway at peak hours and especially during festivities and school holidays, noted Datuk Seri Najib at a press conference at the Istana during the eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat.

He added that the wait on both sides can stretch to three to four hours at times.

This is why the issue of tolls is something Malaysia will consider, and ideally be able to decide on "as soon as possible", he said.

The toll charges at the Second Link range from $3.20 for cars, to $14.70 for heavy goods vehicles. The Malaysia toll at the Second Link is RM7.50 ($2.50).

In 2010, cross-border traffic at the Second Link rose after toll charges were cut by 30 per cent.

At the annual retreat this year, Singapore and Malaysia also inked a legally binding bilateral agreement to build a cross-border MRT line.

This will allow commuters to travel between Woodlands North and Johor Baru, and is slated to reduce congestion at border crossings between the countries.

The 4km Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, to be completed by 2024, "will provide seamless connectivity", said Mr Najib on Tuesday.

This is the second cross-border rail agreement that the two countries have signed in two years. In a statement, both prime ministers said this development "is testament to the excellent cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore".

In their statement, the leaders also welcomed Malaysia's removal of the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) toll from Jan 1 this year, and Singapore's matching of the toll reduction, which will take place from Feb 1. The EDL is an 8km highway that begins in Johor Baru and ends at the Causeway.

The ninth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat is expected to take place later in the year, in Malaysia.

Source: New Straits Times