Punggok Rindukan Bulan: Bukit Chagar becomes the JB terminal for the JB > Singapore RTS link

It is finally official: the Johor Bahru terminal for the rapid transit system (RTS) link between Johor Bahru and Singapore will be in JB’s Bukit Chagar area: see http://www.nst.com.my/node/35315

Bukit Chagar is located behind the main train station ‘JB Sentral’. The plot of land is now mainly empty after dereliction of low cost flats which were built there in the 1980s. These apartment blocks were an eyesore for JB’s city centre and their demolition in 2008 was one of the first steps towards JB’s regeneration.

There is an interesting blog post by Blogger ‘oldstock’ who took pictures before and after demolition of the apartment blocks: http://oldstock.blogspot.com/2008/07/dust-settles-on-bukit-chagar-flats.html

The Bukit Chagar flats were also featured in an indie movie called ‘Punggok Rindukan Bulan’. The title of the movie is a Malay proverb ‘the owl longs for the moon / is unhappy in the absence of the moon’, meaning an ‘unfulfilled longing’. In the movie it is the longing of a father and a son who cope with the absence of a key female figure in their lives. One is tempted to draw a comparison and to say that there is now hope that the new purpose of the Bukit Chagar area will fulfill the longing of many Johoreans to be better connected to Singapore where many of them work. A longing fulfilled, rasa rindu tertunai.
More info about the movie Punggok Rindukan Bulan:


and pictures from the movie: http://s276.photobucket.com/user/sinemazharr/library/Punggok%20Rindukan%20Bulan?sort=3&page=1

After nearly a year of negative news and political turmoil, hot and cold showers in the form of increase in toll fees on both sides, Singapore vehicle entry fee increase, disputes over reclamation works, oversupply of condos, not enough low and medium cost housing, unclear news and rumours about restrictions to foreign ownership (which turned out to be wrong) and many more - after all these mainly negative sentiments, positive news are now coming out again: the decision on the JB terminal, the progress of the HSR link between KL and Singapore, the plan to have hourly trains from JB to Singapore, some big investments (and with it new jobs) by firms like Bostik, the development of the huge oil & gas area in Pengerang, the opening of Komtar/JBCC with Marks & Spencer and also: the planned gazetting of Kampung Sungai Melayu as a heritage village - all positive news. Let’s hope they keep coming.

Rail link Puteri Harbour > Jurong Lake?

The high speed rail link (HSR) connection between KL and Singapore may go via Puteri Harbour, according to the Malaysian newspaper The Rakyat Post. This would make sense since the distance between Malaysia and Singapore at Puteri Harbour is only around 700m and the waters are quite shallow. On the Singapore side the stop is supposedly at Jurong Lake.

Read the full article which refers to a government source here: http://www.therakyatpost.com/business/2014/08/18/kl-singapore-high-speed-rail-likely-ending-jurong/

Here the map of the proposed route of the HSR:


Another interesting fact mentioned in the article is that statistics show that the Causeway is 33% above capacity. It’s strangely comforting to equate a number to the frustrated feeling everyone has who has to cross the border via the Causeway. It would be interesting to see the numbers for the Second Link.



In the last few months there was a bit of negative sentiment about Iskandar Malaysia, mainly because of the crazy traffic situation at the Second Link border between Malaysia and Singapore. When it took some people 45 minutes to go to work in Singapore’s CBD, it now took them sometimes 2 hours or even more. This put a strain on people’s family life. 

Who’s fault is it? The unanimous verdict of commuters is that Malaysia beats Singapore 10:1 when it comes to border efficiency. Not only is Malaysia’s border better designed, it is also better staffed and the check is done quickly and efficiently. The Singapore side on the other hand suffers from long queues, bad design, slow handling of passport control. In addition there seems to be lack of staff and lots of counters are closed.

The loosers? Apart from people wanting to cross the border, the biggest looser is Singapore’s reputation for efficiency and good management. The country is well known for it’s pride in Changi Airport’s world class ranking. And everyone who has ever travelled through Changi has to be impressed. The airport looks spotless, relaxed, elegant and you never wait long, neither for your luggage nor at passport control. Why has the land border to be the pure opposite of this? Stressful, inefficient, slow. Maybe someone should start a border efficiency ranking and Singapore’s government would quickly make sure to reach the top ranking. Is it pure lack of accountability which lead to this situation in the last few months or is it something else? It seems to have started with two border breaches, where on two occasions people managed to somehow cross the border without proper control. This may explain the current overreaction but it does not justify it.

There is also bound to be a significant loss for Singapore’s economy which relies on Malaysian workers crossing the border every morning into Singapore.

Together with some infighting in Malaysia, where the Johor Sultans role in the Johor state administration and his own business dealings are being questioned, this has lead to a more negative sentiment towards Iskandar Malaysia.

Patience though is a virtue. There were bound to be rocks on the way and navigating around these is the task of the day. On the ground, the business people and (in Malaysia’s case at least the federal) government officials are going full steam ahead. Yesterday marked the ground breaking of Nusajaya Techpark, which has already a 40% commitment rate for the 200 factories under construction, mainly for precision engineering, clean manufacturing and logistics firms. At the opening ceremony Singapore’s Minister for Trade & Industry Lim Hng Kiang stated that Singapore has invested 23% of its foreign investment in Iskandar Malaysia.

Other positive news were that Huawei is opening data centres in Nusajaya in the next few weeks.

A mid to long view also helps to see through the current fog: the transport links can only improve. Knowing Singapore, the government will at one point realise that they need to stand up to their reputation. And in 2020 the High Speed Rail line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will apart from having only one border check, improve the travel time between Nusajaya and Singapore significantly: it will take only between 5 and 10 minutes depending on where the Singapore station will be (at the new (2016) Tuas West MRT or the Jurong East MRT). On Nusajaya’s side the most likely stations will be either Gerbang Nusajaya or Sunway Iskandar. Before this HSR link there will be in 2018 the RTS connection between Johor Bahru and Singapore’s new Thompson Line.

So apart from stronger transport links there is plenty development within Malaysia. This justifies a strong believe in a growing local economy, a great return for investors and good job opportunities for citizen and residents.

SemiD at Horizon Hills available from around 1 AUG 2014

Our beautiful semiD at Horizon Hills will be available for rent from around 1 August 2014 (rent: RM9,500 pcm including gardening, pest control, golf club membership). Contact us if you are interested. Email us or call 012-2949877.

Here a link to a detailed description: http://www.properties.my/semiD-Horizon-Hills.html

Dedicated to a hero

Like with all our houses, we have given the new corner terrace a name - ‘Rumah Setia’ (in English: Loyalty House). 

The reason: all streets in East Ledang are called after heroes of the mythological Malay ‘Hang Tuah’ saga, a legend of the five warriors of the Melaka Sultanate. This house in particular is located in a street called ‘Jalan Hang Jebat’ called so after our favourite character of the legend, the ‘silat’ (martial arts) practitioner Hang Jebat. He was known for his loyalty to his fellow warrior Hang Tuah, the main character of the saga. Hang Jebat rebelled against the Sultan to revenge his friend whom he believed to have been executed by the Sultan for a deed he had not done and without proper investigation (it was a setup by envious officials). Hang Tuah was however still alive thanks to the prime minister who liked him and secretly disobeyed the Sultan’s orders. The Sultan regretted having sentenced Hang Tuah to death and after the Prime Minister confessed he asked for Hang Tuah to come back to the Palace. He then ordered Hang Tuah to kill his own friend Hang Jebat for starting the rebellion, and to stop him from continuing to run amok and kill thousands of people in the state. Hang Tuah followed the order unquestioningly and initially only wounded Hang Jebat in a long fight, but subsequently killed him after promising to care for Hang Jebat’s love child Hang Kadim. In a nutshell, this story is about conflicting concepts of loyalty, the unquestioning loyalty of Hang Tuah to his boss the Sultan, and his duty towards his country, and on the other part the personal loyalty of Hang Jebat to his childhood friend Hang Tuah, a loyalty which Hang Jebat valued over his duty to the Sultan whom he too served. An exciting story which you can read in more detail on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_Jebat 

Or you can buy ‘The Epic of Hang Tuah’, a beautifully bound book with maps and historic background comments from the ‘Malay Great Works Series’.

Hang Jebat’s famous quote during the fight was “Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah” meaning “A fair king is a king to salute, a cruel king is a king to rebel against”. Which kind of loyalty would you choose? The unquestionable loyalty of the soldier Hang Tuah to his superior, the Sultan of Melaka - or the critical loyalty of Hang Jebat to his friend Hang Tuah, even if it means to fight against the orders of your superior?

In any case, this is the reason we named our house in Jalan Hang Jebat ‘Rumah Setia’.

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Nusajaya is a regional city located in the south west of Johor, Malaysia at the border to Singapore.
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