3 Mar 2006

Singapore: Not Wise for Malaysia to Replace Bridge

Singapore has reiterated yesterday that any unilateral move by Malaysia to demolish its half of the causeway and replace it with a half-bridge will bring about serious implications, “however scenic” the bridge may be.

Foreign Minister George Yeo said the republic had explained the matter to Kuala Lumpur through a third party note.

Yeo made the remark in Parliament in response to the issue raised by MPs during the debate on the 2006 budget.

In January, Malaysia said it was going ahead with the plan to replace its side of the causeway with a crooked half-bridge, to be known as the “scenic bridge”, after talks between the two countries had dragged on without any conclusion.

To a suggestion that both sides tackle first the “the low hanging fruits” in resolving the outstanding bilateral issues between Malaysia and Singapore, Yeo said: “Some are on our tree and some are on theirs. We have to decide what is the correct balance of fruits to be plucked, otherwise no fruit can be plucked at all”.

Yeo said Singapore’s relations with Malaysia were good as they rested on “a bedrock of common history and common interests”.

One recent example was the manner in which the police of both countries cooperated in tracking down a Singaporean man who was on the republic’s wanted list in connection with the murder of a nightclub owner here on Feb 15.

The man was arrested by the Kuala Lumpur police on Saturday and extradited to the republic on Wednesday.

On the overlapping claim by Singapore and Malaysia on Pedra Branca or Pulau Batu Putih, Yeo said the case before the International Court of Justice was expected to be heard next year.

“Both sides have already put in their written submissions,” he said. – Bernama


Anonymous said...

The bridge issue extends to more than just replacing an aging and often congested link to the rest of the peninsula, it's mostly about economic and political benefits. Solving the bridge issue and raising it would allow for ships to pass easily to the Malaysian ports and a country that is quite dependent on port trade, that is disastrous. Quite a lot of jobs would be lost in the country should more traffic head for Tanjung Pelepas or the other Malaysian ports where they charge lower rates than Singapore.

The dragging of the feet is just that- to try to delay it so that the Singapore economy could be diversified further...to offset the loss of traffic at Singapore ports.

fwstallion said...

The bridge issue has no bearing on the shipping economics, as the straits are only 1 km, only 1 aframax large container ship can use at a time or 2 minipanamax.
The bridge is purely to generate funds for the relevant firms being ex johor. The earlier anoymous comment does not take into account reality. Further, this is further stymied by the 2nd link bridge.
It is just pure economics, most vehicles use the causeway not the 2nd link. Just look at the list of firms involved and the parties.