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Crooked bridge/causeway project to be revived? - malaysiakini

Malaysian Insider reports:

JOHOR BARU, Dec 26 — The campaign to get the aborted crooked bridge to Singapore off the ground has started but Malaysia’s next Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak does not appear convinced about the project.

In the past few weeks, several supporters of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — the promoter of the bridge plan — have urged the government to restart the controversial project. Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said that with the opening of the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex, there was a pressing need for the new crossing to alleviate major congestion in Johor Baru.

He added that the bridge would support the Iskandar Malaysia development and enhance ties between Singapore and Malaysia.

Najib in an interview with The Edge noted that while there may be some individual views about the project there are legal ramifications to consider as well as the financial constraints facing the government.

In 2005, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the plan to build the crooked bridge was being aborted. This decision angered Dr Mahathir, who said that Malaysia was behaving like “a half-past-six country with no guts.”

Stung by a volley of criticisms, the government took the unusual step of de-classifying confidential documents and going on a publicity blitz to explain to Malaysians why it cancelled the bridge project.

Among the reasons was advice by the Attorney-General’s Chambers which showed that Malaysia should not proceed to build a bridge unilaterally without complying with the country’s legal obligations.

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.

The AG’s Chambers said that under the 1961 and 1962 Johor-Singapore Water Agreements Malaysia is required to obtain approval of PUB in relation to the alteration of water pipelines.

Still, Dr Mahathir and his supporters believed that Abdullah aborted the bridge project because he was bent on damaging the former prime minister’s legacy. They are hopeful of the project being revived with the change of guard in Putrajaya in March.

Malaysiakini's report when out.