Unique Travel Experience to End after Agreement on Land Deal
For a train journey found only in Singapore, take the slow Malaysian KTM at Tanjung Pagar and enter Malaysian territory in a deliciously unusual way.
While deep in the heart of Singapore, you get on the train waiting in Malaysian soil. You get your bags checked and passport stamped by Malaysian Immigration. Before you even have time to enjoy the last glimpses of Singapore from your seat, you alight and join the queues to have Singapore authorities at Woodlands stamp your passport.
You read right: enter Malaysia, leave Singapore, and then only after the Causeway, you enter Malaysia again.
History caused this travel quirk.
Back in 1965, Singapore broke away from Malaysia. It has been trying unsuccessfully to gain back land deep in the island state, land that the Malaysian Government found too valuable (and too strategic a bargaining chip) to give up.
But that is about to change.
The prime ministers of the two countries have announced a breakthrough of bilateral relations.
KTM land, worth billions of dollars, will revert to Singapore. In exchange, a majority Malaysian owned company will gain development rights over the massive land bank released once the KTM railway station at Tanjung Pagar is moved to Woodlands where the Causeway linking it to Malaysia begins.
Deatils of the deal are scanty, but the following were outlined today by the two leaders:
> Relocating the KTM railway station from Tanjung Pagar to Wood-lands;
> Setting up a joint company M-S Pte Ltd to develop six parcels of land in the republic; and
> Developing a rapid transit link between Tanjung Puteri in Johor Baru and Singapore.
Both leaders also agreed that Khazanah and Temasek will form a 50-50 joint-venture company to develop an iconic wellness township in Iskandar Malaysia.
When the deal is realized, the travel anomaly will cease to exist. Enter Malaysia where it begins, that is, in Johor Baru.
Make your plans now and include Singapore and Malaysia in your travels this year. Enjoy this unusual experience before it's no more.