JOHOR BARU: While debate rages in the federal capital over the “crooked bridge”, many in the state largely pooh-poohed the idea of its revival.
Former Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran said the idea of bringing back the bridge might open up old wounds between the two countries.
He said any plan to revive the project should be discussed with Singapore, as negotiations on the project were halted several years ago.
“Personally, I feel that the money and energy to revive the crooked bridge proposal can be put to better use in other urgent areas in our bilateral relations,” he said.
Parameswaran, who served as envoy to Singapore for five and a half years, said even the proposal for a third link and its location was best discussed mutually.
“Some preparatory work on the crooked bridge had already been done on the Malaysian side and is still visible,” he said, adding that the demolition of the Causeway to have a new bridge was to allow stagnant water along the Johor Straits to flow freely and for the movement of smaller vessels.
Former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that he was disappointed with his successor Datuk Osman Sapian’s comments that there was a likelihood of Malaysia and Singapore discussing the revival of the project.
“This project was shelved in 2006 as Malaysia had to make the correct decision not to give in to Singapore's demands with regard to the selling of sand and using our airspace, as the latter was strongly against the project,” he added.
Mohamed Khaled said the contractor, Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd, was paid more than RM100mil as compensation to stop the project.
“In 2003, it was estimated to cost RM1.1bil. Now it will cost three to four times more,” he said, adding that he was surprised that the government wanted to revive a mega project when its aim was to manage the country’s finances.
Johor MCA Youth chief Ling Tian Soon questioned the rationale behind reviving the project.
“Has the plan to rebuild the crooked bridge been approved by the Cabinet, or is it just to realise the selfish ambition of Tun Mahathir? Is there any survey which shows that Johor urgently needs a crooked bridge?” he asked.
Ling said it was ironic that the Pakatan Harapan government claimed the national debt had exceeded RM1tril but was eager to revive the third national car project and crooked bridge plan.
Did you find this article insightful?