Malaysia’s Transport Minister has revealed the “feasibility study” for the Trans-Borneo rail route will begin its work in August and will be the final preparatory step in the three-nation link. 

The route will connect the Malaysian side of the island of Borneo known as Sarawak with both the enclave of Brunei and the neighbouring Indonesian part of the island known as Kalimantan. 

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook said the study would be completed by August 2025. 

While the Malaysian and Indonesian governments are yet to award contracts for the construction of the project, there has been significant discussion on the routes and phases of the mission. 

“The Trans Borneo Railway project is currently just a proposal, and this year, the government will implement a feasibility study. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has yet to finalise the tender documents, and the tender for the feasibility study has not yet been offered,” Loke said in April. 

“We expect the feasibility study to take nine months, then only we will know if the project could be implemented or not in terms of the commercial, technical and other aspects,” he added. 

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The expectation has now risen to 12 months. 

It is understood the plan, although not formally agreed, is to build a first phase along the west coast of Borneo from Kota Kinabalu in the north, through Brunei, via Sibu in Sarawak and to Pontianak in the southern Indonesian region. 

A second phase would connect Brunei to the central regions of the Malaysian region and down the east coast of the Indonesian region, eventually reaching the new purpose-built Indonesian captial city Nusantara. 

The Tutong district station in Brunei will serve as a hub for the new lines. 

These plans could be confirmed or changed dramatically with the conclusion of the feasibility study.