PUTRAJAYA: MALAYSIA and Singapore are looking into a proposal to build a "Friendship Bridge" to improve road connectivity as well as to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
The bridge, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was a long-term initiative and a symbol of the growing friendship enjoyed between Malaysia and the republic.
"I would like to stress that this is a long-term initiative. Looking at the road links between Malaysia and Singapore, a proposal to have a friendship bridge will certainly enhance connectivity, improve the environment as well as create much stronger links between the two countries.
"It will become a symbol of the growing friendship between both countries," he said at a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a meeting between ministers from both countries at the Prime Minister's Office here yesterday.
Joining Lee, among others, was his deputy, Teo Chee Hean, while Malaysia was also represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Najib said the proposed bridge was one of the initiatives discussed during the annual leaders' two-day retreat, which started on Sunday, to enhance cross border activities between Malaysia and Singapore.
Asked for details, Najib said the proposal was "open ended" and a long-term project.
Last December, Najib and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah declared open a 60m-long "Friendship Bridge" across Sungai Pandaruan that separated Brunei's Temburong district and Sarawak's Limbang district.
The completion of the RM21.9 million (S$11.2 million) bridge constructed by the two countries on a joint-venture basis allowed vehicles to travel uninterrupted from Kuching to Miri, before crossing into Brunei and re-entering Sarawak at Limbang before going onwards to Lawas and Tawau in Sabah.
On ongoing Malaysia-Singapore collaboration, Najib said it was proceeding positively with both countries mutually benefitting from the partnership.
He pointed out the joint development projects by Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited in Singapore through M+S Pte Ltd was an example of the mutual benefit enjoyed by the countries.
"The joint development projects in the M+S Private Ltd venture are proceeding well. The Marina One and Duo projects in Singapore are on track for completion by the end of 2016.
"We are pleased to note that more than 90 per cent of the DUO residence project has been sold since it was launched in December 2013.
"The joint developments in Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd have also commenced on an Urban Wellness project in Medini North and Resort Wellness development in Medini Central, both located in Iskandar Malaysia.
"The Afiniti Medini residence project was successfully launched on June 8, 2013, and all the units were sold out within a day," he said.
Both leaders said they were also looking forward to more development ventures in Iskandar Malaysia that could mutually benefit the two countries.