Crooked bridge revival meant to please Mahathir: Malaysian MP
The suggestion to revive the "crooked bridge" project was merely to please Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as it has been his dream to replace the Johor-Singapore Causeway, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Ayer Hitam MP said no prior studies were done by the Public Works Department (JKR) on the cost of building the controversial bridge, pointing out that it could lead to larger leakages in government funds.
"It has not taken into account construction work that was completed in 2006, which means that there is a hidden cost.
"That is why I want to know from the estimated cost of RM1.13bil (S$374 million), how many hundreds of millions were spent," he said when met at the Parliament lobby.
Dr Wee also said the main issue was to improve traffic congestion between Singapore and Johor, as Malaysians and Singaporeans spent hours just to commute between the two countries.
"If we build the crooked bridge, which would have six lanes, it could fit more vehicles.
"But the traffic jams would not ease because JKR has yet to conduct a thorough study," he said.
"That is why I am asking the government to look at this from a practical perspective.
"Will this bridge help to address traffic congestion? Otherwise, it will be a waste," Dr Wee said, adding that a flip-flop decision could affect Singapore-Malaysia relations.
Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, Works Minister Baru Bian said the previous administration paid some RM258.4mil in compensation for the cancellation of the crooked bridge project 12 years ago.
"The proposed project was shelved by the fifth prime minister (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) in April 2006 due to international legal and moral considerations.
"Owing to this, the government had to pay RM155mil to the project contractor Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd, RM67.4mil to sub-contractors and RM36mil as ancillary compensation," he told Dr Wee during Minister's Question Time.
To a supplementary question by Dr Wee, Baru said he did not have the exact amount of compensation paid in connection with land acquisition.
Baru added that the proposed project would only be revived with agreement from Singapore.
The RM1.13bil project was mooted as an alternative causeway, linking Johor and Singapore, to the present causeway built in 1923.
To a question by Wong Shu Qi (Pakatan-Kluang), Baru said the government would consider upgrading the existing Johor-Singapore causeway to ease the congestion that affects Johoreans working in Singapore.
Talk of the revival of the crooked bridge project was initially sparked by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian, who said it was a possibility.