The Return of The Crooked@Scenic Bridge April 15, 2009Posted by malaysianstory in A New Chapter, Najib Tun Razak.
Tags: Mahathir's Legacy, Malaysian Story, Revive The Crooked Bridge Project?
Will the Crooked or Scenic Bridge project be revived under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak? This is a question many are asking now.
Lately, Tun M said the bridge may be brought back to the limelight but Najib thinks otherwise.
Tun said the new CIQ complex in Tanjung Puteri, Johor Baru had created much controversy and congestion in traffic between Malaysia and Singapore.
Najib noted that while there may be some individual views about the project but there are legal ramifications to consider as well as the financial difficulties facing the government now.
However, there have been calls from businessmen and leaders of business communities and chambers of commerce asking the government o re-consider the project to revive what they termed as ailing economy in Johor.
Former premier Tun Mahathir unveiled the plan for the bridge to replace half the 500-m causeway between the neighbours in 2003, after Singapore rejected a plan to jointly build a bridge to replace the entire causeway.
Malaysia said its bridge, called the “crooked” bridge because of its convoluted design, would boost traffic flow and eases jams on its side of the 81-year-old causeway, allow ships to pass beneath and improve water quality by unblocking the strait.
The bridge is one of many issues that had strained ties between Malaysia and Singapore since their union ended.
Tun M then said he is “very happy” that finally a decision has been made for Malaysia to go ahead with the scenic bridge on its side of the Johor Strait.
The former prime minister is also not surprised that Singapore has not agreed to jointly build the bridge to replace the Causeway.
However, his happiness was short-lived when his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, now also Tun, rejected the plan. Tun M was virulent in his criticism of Badawi upon the rejection of the crooked bridge.
Singapore is in disagreement over the bridge due to the following official reasons:
1. It will affect Singapore’s economy
2. It will also disrupt the long standing water supply deal agreement between Malaysia and Singapore
3. It will be an environment disaster altogether
Tun M said the reasons given by Singapore were irrelevant and that the bridge should have been built a long time ago. He rejects the fact that due to the ‘water’ deal with Singapore, the nod of Singapore is needed to build even the Malaysian side of the bridge since this will affect the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore.
This included Malaysia’s obligations under the Johor-Singapore water agreements of 1961 and 1962, the Wayleave Agreements and the Separation Agreement 1965.
The main obstacle to the crooked bridge was that it would involve the demolition of the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway. The demolition would directly affect the water pipeline located inside the Johor Causeway and water pipelines straddling the Johor Causeway in which the ownership is vested with the Public Utilities Board of Singapore.
It was reported that the crooked bridge was abandoned in order to prevent any scuffle between Malaysia and Singapore. Building it without the consent of Singapore would surely mean the disruption of the relationship between the two neighbours.
To this Tun M replied, “I have waited 22 years, and we still have not gotten the permission to even raise (the price of raw water sold to Singapore) from 3 sen to 4 sen.
So if you want to wait, you can wait until kingdom come,” he said.
In jest, Dr Mahathir said: “I thought it was ‘cynic’ bridge.. Is that how you spell it?”