Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Malaysia-Singapore Bridge Scrapped

Finally, the planned bridge to link Malaysia and Singapore is scrapped.

The Malaysian government decides to discontinued the plan to build the bridge to replace the Johor Causeway which linking Malaysia and Singapore. The government decision was made after considering the public views and sentiments particularly about the Singapore's demand supply of sand and the use of airspace by the Singapore Air Force. The government also decides to stop all the negotiation related to the bridge.

Media announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister

Years ago (in Mahathir Mohammad era), the Malaysian government decided to build a crooked bridge aka "scenic" bridge (picture above) in the Malaysia side because of Singapore demands of sand supply from Malaysia and the use of Malaysia airspace if Malaysia wants to build a full bridge. A few months ago, Malaysia begin the construction work and Singapore was surprised and disappointed with Malaysia's decision despites all the negotiations are still on.

And now, no bridge, no half-bridge, no sand and no airspace. Only the old causeway left. Malaysia wants the bridge cause it will bring so much benefit for Tanjung Pelepas Port and Pasir Gudang Port when ships will be able to sail through the Johor Straits. Unfortunately, Singapore will loose big time in their port business.

Singapore's MFA Spokesman said:"We are surprised at this sudden decision when negotiations for a full bridge were still ongoing"

Chronology of Malaysia-Singapore Bridge

1996: Then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad first raises the proposal for a bridge to replace the Causeway.

1999: Singapore says the bridge proposal must have the agreement of both sides. Both countries agree to thrash out outstanding bilateral issues as part of a package. The bridge proposal is one of them.

2002: Malaysia unilaterally decides to jettison the package approach. Singapore's response is that all issues, including the bridge, will be negotiated individually and decided on their own merits.

2003: Singapore says that in order for it to agree to Malaysia's bridge proposal, there must be a balance of benefits. Malaysia then comes up with a new proposal of a half-bridge.

2004: Singapore maintains that any bridge Malaysia has in mind has to comply with the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (Itlos) ruling that both sides must cooperate in the management of the common marine environment in the Johor Strait. So Malaysia needs to consult Singapore on any plans to build a half-bridge.

2005: Foreign Minister George Yeo reiterates stand that Malaysia has to consult Singapore, and there would be serious implications if Malaysia were to demolish its half of the Causeway.

Jan 26, 2006: Malaysia decides to go ahead with the replacement of its half of the Causeway without demolishing the bridge, but says negotiations with Singapore to build a full bridge would continue.

April 4, 2006: Singapore maintains its position that constructing a full straight bridge to replace the Causeway would incur 'huge financial costs and no significant benefits' for the country, but will consider Malaysia's proposal for a full bridge if there is a 'balance of benefits'.

April 12, 2006: Malaysia announces it will abandon the bridge project.

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