KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is going ahead with its plan to build a bridge across its half of the Johor Strait as any delay will incur more cost, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Prime Minister said that while the construction of the RM640mil bridge was going ahead, negotiations to get Singapore to complete the project would continue.
He said this after attending Gerakan's Chinese New Year open house at the party's headquarters in Cheras on Sunday.
They know we are going to build the bridge, the question is what type of bridge, whether a crooked or straight one.
So, they should not be confused over our move, he said.
Abdullah added that Malaysia was very keen to see the project through as water in the coastal area in south Johor should flow freely and not be blocked by the Causeway.
Gerbang Perdana, the consortium spearheading the project, has placed a crane barge at the bridge abutment in the middle of the strait, signalling construction works were about to begin.
On reports that the bridge should be called a scenic bridge instead of crooked bridge due to its design, Abdullah said the name was unimportant at the moment.
In a statement yesterday, Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it had contacted Kuala Lumpur to ask for an explanation of Malaysian media reports.
Singapore prefers not to react to media reports, the statement said.
It said Singapore wanted clarification before it decided on its response.
In Johor Baru, its MP Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the bridge would signify the crooked relationship between the two countries, reports NELSON BENJAMIN.
When this matter came up two years ago, I said there should be negotiations between both countries for a straight bridge as a crooked one will only show that the relationship is strained.
He saw no reason for Singapore's puzzlement, saying the issue had been discussed for a long time.
Shahrir, who is also Public Accounts Committee chairman, said it was not right for Singapore to include the sale of sand and use of Malaysian airspace for its air force as part of the negotiations for the construction of the bridge.
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