Bridge: Labuan is hopeful this time
Published on: Monday, October 14, 2019
By: Sohan Das
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LABUAN: The latest announcement on the proposed Labuan-Menumbok bridge has sparked fresh hopes that the long-awaited link will finally become a reality under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) rule. 

While many have been overcome with excitement, there are also those who prefer to be sceptical and say “seeing is believing,” since many hopes of the bridge have risen before and after twists and turns ended in anti-climax. 

Activist Fauziah Datuk Din (pic) said it is justified for those to feel that way based on the history of the bridge. 

“But we have no reservations, this time is for real, because Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli had pushed the matter to the highest level,” she said. 

Recalling the history of the proposed bridge first made in 1997, Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique, who was the Federal Territory Minister in 2007, announced a RM5 million allocation for a feasibility study on the project. 

Three universities undertook the study and came up with the recommendation that the Government should go-ahead with it as it is viable and important for Labuan’s future. Nothing further materialised. 

In 2013, the Federal Territory Minister then, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, announced that the bridge would come about under a private sector initiative. 

In 2014, former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, under a joint venture with a China-listed company, Shandong Liang, submitted a proposal to build the bridge. There was no known response to the offer. Shandong Liang is an established company that was involved in the construction of a 37km bridge in China.  

Then in 2018, just before the general election, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, announced a RM14.5 million up-dated techno-economic feasibility study. After the Barisan Nasional (BN) rule ended, the new government cancelled the allocation. 

It was the dashing of hopes for the third time. The proposed bridge certainly seemed to be a bridge over troubled waters. 

Now, the new Federal Territories Minister, Khalid Abdul Samad, announced last month that the project would be awarded by the end of the year and the Government was looking for a private financing initiative to realise it. 

He added that a request for proposals would be called on the matter. 

This was followed by another statement by Chairman of Labuan Corporation, Datuk Seri Amir Hussien, that a neighbouring country managing sovereign funds of US$226 billion presented Labuan Corporation a RM12 billion proposal to build the bridge and Labuan Port.  

The bridge runs 13km on Labuan side and 3.3km on Sabah. According to present plans, the bridge would be linked to Pulau Daat across the harbour and connected to Sabah.  

Daat has 271.96 hectares of land and the link could open up industrial, commercial and residential projects there.


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