Unlocking KTM land in S’pore

By Sharifuddin A. Latiff

As far as I know, The Malaysian Insider was the only media agency which carried the story on 22nd September ’09.

Light at end of tunnel over KTM’s Singapore land


  • Government sources said Singapore has submitted a proposal to Wisma Putra last month for a joint-venture company that will develop the new piece of land. [In Marina South, near the Marina Bay Sands casino project] Malaysia will hold 60 per cent equity in the company while Singapore will hold the balance, both through their respective sovereign wealth funds.
  • It is understood that Malaysia has already appointed private valuers to ascertain the exact land value of the site, which is in lieu of the 217 hectares that KTM now owns in Singapore.
  • The land swap has been contentious since the Malaysia-Singapore Points of Agreement (POA) was signed in 1990 over the issue of the future of the railway land. The POA was signed between former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former Malaysian Finance Minister Tun Daim Zanuddin.

What is the land worth?

According to a 2004 estimate, it is valued at between SG3 – 5 billion without any further development. That’s equivalent to RM7.2 – 12 billion at the prevailing rate of exchange of 2.40.

The new Singapore proposal to swap the KTM land with a single property lot of equivalent value, rather than several smaller locations discussed in previous negotiations, appears laudable. However, as in any transactions, whether private or public (read: government), the issue of transparent due diligence and accountability is paramount.

The KTM land issue in Singapore has been dragging along without a definitive closure since 1965 when the island republic seceded from Malaysia. Despite having the Malaysia-Singapore 1990 POA, both governments differed on its interpretation or was it due to the intractable personality clash between the then opposing heads of state.

Suffice to say, in any dealings with Singapore, the Najib administration must tread with extreme caution as we do not wish to have a repetition similar to Pulau Batu Putih.

Perhaps, the better option to this quagmire would be to sell off the KTM land at a decent price, pull out entirely from Singapore and subsequently, concentrate on the other outstanding issues of water and airspace for which we have irrefutable sovereign rights to bargain with.

With the monetary gain, KTM can then revamp their infrastructure and proceed with the double tracking exercise to its finality. Furthermore, will KTM also look at the possibility of taking over the LRT services within KL Metro?

Whatever the outcome, the local MSMs were somehow silent on this report.


2 Responses to “Unlocking KTM land in S’pore”
  1. piqued says:

    The KTM land in Singapore is to be used by KTM for transportation services only. It can’t be sold and can’t be commercially developed without the express permission of the Govt of Singapore. If at any time KTM ceases to use the land for transportational purposes the land reverts back to the Govt of Singapore. If the CIQ had been moved to Woodlands, KTM would have forfeited the land at Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah unless they continued to use the land for “transportational services.”

    • shar101 says:


      TDM realised this and stalled the move to Woodlands.

      There’s also another new aspect – safety issues. A recent train mishap whereby two persons were killed when they were run over by a train.

      This could be brought up by Singapore in the next round of negotiations.

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