Work on RM1.1 billion “crooked” half-bridge to replace Johore causeway should not proceed without national mandate and specific parliamentary approval as it is building a permanent memorial to symbolize the double failures of Malaysia-Singapore relations and ASEAN
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): Work on the RM1.1 billion “crooked” half-bridge to replace the Johore causeway should not proceed without a national mandate and specific parliamentary approval as it is building a permanent memorial to symbolize the double failures of Malaysia-Singapore relations and the 36-year ASEAN.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is stepping down from the highest office of the land in eleven weeks’ time come October after serving as the longest Prime Minister for more than 22 years and he should take pause to consider whether he wants the “crooked” half-bridge to be one of his last legacies not only to the nation but to the region and the world to symbolize human follies where human ingenuity and engineering feats are used to immortalize human failures to foster closer regional and international relationships.
Even if the temptation is to proceed with the RM1.1 billion “crooked” half-bridge, Mahathir will be well-advised to leave it to the next Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make the final decision, for two special reasons:
Recently, there was an advertisement war between Malaysia and Singapore on the water dispute between the two countries, with both governments claiming the same success in being able to make its people and those of the neighbouring country to see its point of view.
Neither the governments or people of the two countries had benefited from such an advertisement war, as the only beneficiaries were the media and the advertising agents as the cost of the advertisement spat ran into millions of ringgit.
We do not want the Malaysian and Singapore governments to have to spend some more millions of ringgit in another round of advertisement war over the “crooked” half-bridge – and the people of both Malaysia and Singapore are entitled to a full and unvarnished account as to why both governments had deviated from their earlier agreement to build a suspension bridge to replace the 80-year-old causeway.
But most important of all, both the Malaysian and Singapore governments should bear in mind the far-reaching implications and symbolism of the “crooked” half bridge to replace the Malaysian side of the causeway, and they should act responsibly and sobrely on this issue, as the “engineering feat” of the RM1.1 billion “crooked” half-bridge is a monument Malaysia, Singapore and ASEAN are better off without.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman