State wants review of bridge project

MALACCA: The state government is keen to revive the bridge project linking Malacca and Indonesia.

The proposed 48.69km-long bridge would link Teluk Gong in Malacca to the port of Dumai in Riau, Indonesia and span across the Straits of Malacca.

“We want the Federal Govern­ment to go ahead with the project to spur economic growth in this region,” said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron who just returned from an official visit to Pekanbaru in Riau.

He noted the idea of linking Malacca to Indonesia was first mooted by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1996 when he met Indonesia’s then president Suharto in Kuala Lumpur.

Acting Riau Governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman had requested that Malacca look into reviving the project which was put on hold after the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

In January 2014, Idris said Malacca was interested to work with Denmark as the country possessed the expertise to embark on such a mega project.

The project was also discussed during the 10th Chief Ministers and Governors’ Forum (CMGF) of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) in Koh Samui, Thailand, on September 2013.

If implemented, the bridge would be the world’s longest, even without including a 71.2km-long highway to be built between Dumai and Pulau Rupat, the closest connecting point.

In 2006, then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the groundwork for it had started and that studies showed that the bridge was technically feasible.

However, the plan came under strong objections from various quarters, including environmentalists.

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