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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Hope for bridge over Malacca Straits

MALACCA: Denmark has renewed the Malacca government’s enthusiasm to revive the controversial 48.69km-long Malacca-Dumai bridge project across the Straits of Malacca.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said there was a possibility the project would go ahead.

“As I have stated earlier, the ambitious project could go on as planned. I am not discounting the possibility,” he said yesterday.

On Friday, Idris met Danish ambassador Nicolai Ruge at his office in Seri Negeri where the project was discussed, besides sharing know-how on renewable energy and green technology.

Ruge, when met, said Denmark had the expertise and engineering feats to embark on such a mega project.

Danish engineers had constructed many such bridges in Denmark, he said.

“We could work on the financing aspect of the project as the bridge could impact the fiscal growth of this region,” he said.

However, Idris said the finer details of the project could only be unveiled after the viability study and engineering analysis had been completed.

Talk of the bridge construction surfaced in October last year.

The 48.69km-bridge is expected to link Teluk Gong in Malacca with the port of Dumai in Sumatra.

The project was discussed during the 10th Chief Ministers and Governors’ Forum of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) held in Thailand on Sept 12.

Insights on a feasibility study on the bridge undertaken by Strait of Malacca Partners Sdn Bhd were given during the meeting.

The company had earlier appointed the Hunan Provincial Communi­cations Planning, Survey and Design Institute of China to prepare documents pertaining to the study.

The idea of the bridge was first mooted in 1995 to foster economic opportunities, especially in trade and tourism, between the two countries but it died down during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

In 2006, then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam resumed interest in the project by saying that the groundwork for it had started and that studies showed that the bridge was technically feasible.

He also announced that the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China had agreed to finance 85% of the link’s total cost, then estimated at RM44.3bil.

Tags / Keywords: Government , Copenhagen


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