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Still hope for Labuan bridge
Published on: Sunday, June 02, 2024
By: Bernama
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Still hope for Labuan bridge
“The proposed Labuan bridge is a mega project that requires thorough preparation...I have been informed there is an existing technical study which can serve as a guideline,
LABUAN: The Federal Government expressed support for the long-overdue construction of a bridge linking Labuan island to mainland Sabah, pending comprehensive reports on its implications.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, however, emphasised the need to update the existing technical study to reflect current conditions.

“The proposed Labuan bridge is a mega project that requires thorough preparation...I have been informed there is an existing technical study which can serve as a guideline.

“However, experts have indicated that the existing study cannot be used in its entirety and needs to be improved and tailored to the present situation,” he said after making a visit to the Labuan Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Ferry Terminal.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Federal Territories), Dr Zaliha Mustafa in March said the Federal Territories Department has set up three task forces aimed at revitalising Labuan’s economy, including through the construction of the Labuan-Menumbok bridge, which could be a ‘game changer’ for the island.

However, Dr Zaliha stressed the necessity for a new comprehensive technical study to accurately estimate project costs and assess economic impacts, given the evolving economic landscape, as past studies might not be fully relevant in the current context.

Anwar vowed the government would  take immediate steps to address congestion issues plaguing the roll-on/roll-off (roro) ferry terminal here and revive Labuan’s development after years of being sidelined.

In a Facebook post, he instructed the Malaysian Maritime Department to revamp jetty management methods and collaborate with immigration and the police to ensure more efficient ferry and passenger movements after a briefing on the persistent congestion problem during a visit to the ferry terminal pier.

“It is not acceptable for passengers to wait for more than one hour,“ he said, adding that while the government has allocated RM22 million to build a second jetty, congestion will persist if immigration affairs and vehicle traffic are not overhauled in tandem.

Later, in a meeting with the local community, he emphasised that the Madani Government is committed to ensuring Labuan thrives again after being marginalised for too long.

“The priority is to resolve issues like electricity, water supply problems and eliminate extreme poverty in Labuan by July next year at the latest,“ said the post.

Despite inheriting RM1.5 trillion in national debt and liabilities, Anwar stressed he will not compromise on spending to solve basic survival problems affecting the people’s well-being.

To this end, he announced Labuan will be exempted from the implementation of targeted diesel subsidies, given the high diesel consumption in the region.

He also stated that targeting diesel subsidies does not mean stopping the aid entirely but rather limiting it to the super-wealthy and foreigners who have been “sipping billions in aid ringgit meant for the poor and needy.”

“Although this is not a popular decision, I emphasise that the Madani Government needs to have the political will to implement the right decision, not to mention that this step was agreed by all previous Prime Ministers.

 

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