Abdullah should address two burning issues in Johore Bahru – the “crooked half bridge” and the unprecedented fear of crime - when he visits the Johore capital tomorrow
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should address two burning issues in Johore Bahru– the “crooked half bridge” and the unprecedented fear of crime among the people - when he visits the Johore capital tomorrow to officiate the Johore Hari Raya Open House at Danga Bay.
Yesterday, I visited Johore Bahru in connection with a DAP protest against the RM1.1 billion “crooked half-bridge” to replace Malaysia’s half of the Johore-Singapore Causeway. There was widespread consensus among the people of Johore Bahru that following the “postponement” of the RM14.5 billion double tracking rail project, Abdullah should suspend the construction of the “crooked half-bridge” to allow for bilateral discussion and co-operation between Malaysia and Singapore for a win-win solution to avoid the international embarrassment of a crooked half-bridge as a permanent symbol of the failure of Malaysia and Singapore relations and ASEAN solidarity, as well the laughing stock of the world of an example of the human folly of the feat of engineering.
There is no urgency, whether from state or national perspective, to build the RM1.1 billion “crooked half-bridge” as the RM2 billion Johore-Singapore Second Link is grossly under-utilised with an average daily traffic volume as low as 10 per cent of its capacity of 200,000 vehicles a day. In the past five years, the government had to compensate the Second Link concessionaire some RM100 million for the shortfall in guaranteed traffic volume and toll revenue.
When he visits Johore Bahru tomorrow, Abdullah should announce the suspension of the construction of the “crooked half-bridge” so that the matter can be re-opened in bilateral discussions with the Singapore government, especially in his forthcoming visit to Singapore and other ASEAN countries next month.
The double rise in the rate of crime and the fear of crime among the people of Johore Bahru, which has become one of the foremost capitals of crime in the country, should also be the focus of Abdullah’s concern in his visit to Johore Bahru tomorrow, announcing measures to restore to the people of Johore Bahru their fundamental right to security and to live without fear for their safety or that of their loves ones, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman