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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The return of the ‘crooked bridge’?

JOHOR BARU, April 14 — malaysiainsider

Over the past few days, the mainstream media has been making a case to revive the crooked bridge across the Johor Strait, a project cancelled by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his early days as prime minister that irked his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Abdullah had cancelled the project in 2006, citing legalities that have to be pursued with Singapore and a high deficit in government spending.

Despite the cancellation, the government had to compensate several contractors linked to the project.

Today, state news agency Bernama reported that reviving the project under the new leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would meet the aspiration of the Johor people, quoting Umno Youth information chief Khalid Mohamad as saying the people wanted the project reconsidered.

“The people of Johor are placing high hopes on the prime minister to review the decision to cancel the crooked bridge project across the Johor Straits.

“The effects from the construction of the crooked bridge will be most positive to the Johor economy. We urge the government to reconsider (the cancellation) as soon as possible,” said Khalid who is also the Johor Baharu Umno Youth chief, at a media conference, here today.

He said although the country was facing the global economic slowdown, the construction of the crooked bridge would stimulate the local economy and bring it out of the recession.

“It (the construction of the bridge) is a long-term investment and no one can deny the positive effects arising from the construction of the bridge to the Johor economy and in creating various economic opportunities,” he said.

On the possibility of Singapore protesting the revival of the project, he said both countries were capable of avoiding the issue from being made a collateral in resolving outstanding problems.

Yesterday, the public including associations and the Johor Chinese and Indian Chambers of Commerce expressed confidence that the cancellation of the crooked bridge project would be reviewed by Najib’s administration.

The Star newspaper last week also reported that Johor Baru residents and businessmen welcomed the project as the new Custom facilities has diverted traffic from the city.

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