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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

PROPOSED MALACCA STRAITS BRIDGE IN THE NEWS AGAIN

Malaysia Ready to Build Bridge in Malaka Strait
Tuesday, 21 December, 2010 | 17:33 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Malaysia:The Malaysian government is ready to build the Malaka Strait Bridge connecting Dumai in Riau and Malaka in Malaysia, the managing director of Malacca Partners, Sdn Bhd Lim Sue Beng said in Malaysia last Sunday.


“Once is it approved by the Indonesian government the construction can begin,” said Lim.


The new bridge will be completed within the next 10 years, four of which will be dedicated to planning and design, with the remaining six for construction, said Lim. The project is expected to cost US$12.75 billion and the Chinese government has already expressed interest in investing in the project.


Lim, who is also the investor for the roll-on roll-off port construction project in Dumai and Malaka, will offer 80 years of concession time as he says the project will only break even after 40 years of operation.


However Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa was cautious about the plan, saying the national economic corridor was more of a priority. “We don’t want the bridge if the corridor is not yet formed as commodities will have to move through Malaka and that will upset our ports,” he said during his visit to Dumai.


If it goes ahead, the Malaka Strait Bridge will be be 4.63 kilometers long and connect Dumai city with Payung and Rupat Islands and the Gong Strait in Malaysia. The Malaysian government first proposed the bridge in 2007.
The Riau government is enthusiastic about the project saying it will encourage regional economic growth and has met with the Malaka government several times to discuss the plans.


However, Riau Governor Rusli Zainal admitted the Malaysian governor was more proactive. Malaysia has created a special company, Strait Malacca, to conduct studies and find investors for the huge construction project.


KARTIKA CANDRA

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