LABUAN: The Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan joined in a chorus for the building of the Labuan-Menumbok bridge by saying it will be a great help for the island’s economy in the long run.
Association president Datuk Patrick Sindu said that Labuan was in urgent need of the link.
He said the bridge should be undertaken as it would benefit Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak.
“There will be increased sale of houses to mainland buyers and easier supply of goods from Sabah, including fresh products at cheaper prices, apart from a boost in trade and tourism,” said Sindu.
The bridge was first mentioned in the Labuan Development Plan (1997-2015) during the time when Tun Daim Zainuddin was finance minister.
It recommended the project as a private sector initiative.
A feasibility study on the bridge is being undertaken by University Malaysia Sabah.
The Government has allocated RM5mil for the study and it is expected to be completed soon.
Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce secretary Chin Chee Kee said a physical link of the island with Sabah was important as it would ensure Labuan was not bypassed with the completion of the Pan-Borneo Highway.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman had said the bridge would bring about a win-win situation for the Federal Territory and the Klias peninsula in southwestern Sabah.
The newly-established Sabah Progressive Party’s think tank, Progressive Institute of Public Policy and Analysis headed by former deputy chief minister Datuk Tham Niyp Shen, is carrying out a feasibility study on the bridge and will provide the state with a report.
However, there is a nagging fear that Labuan’s free-port status may be withdrawn if the bridge was built.
There is also the fear that Labuan with a land mass of 77.69 square km may not able to handle traffic from the mainland.
Already, the island is hard pressed for parking space during peak hours.
The bridge will span over 17km, based on the route taken by the Labuan-Menumbok roro ferry. — Bernama