Wednesday, December 17, 2008

JOHOR: Hope to revive bridge project

JOHOR BARU - LOCAL residents and politicians in Johor Baru are hoping that the government will revive a bridge project to replace the Johor Causeway.

This is despite the fact that the new RM1.3 billion (S$538 million) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex became fully operational from yesterday.

That bridge project, mooted by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, was scrapped by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi in 2006.

Johor Umno's state assemblyman Abdul Halim Suleiman said most people in the state still wanted a new bridge to be built across the Johor Strait to replace the Causeway, which was built in 1923. The traffic congestion in the city could be addressed only by building a new bridge across the strait, said those pushing for the project.

Datuk Abdul Halim believed that a new bridge would attract more foreign investors and tourists to Iskandar Malaysia, the southern Johor economic zone.

A JB resident, Mr Mohd Salleh Ali, 39, who works for a private company, said: 'Now that the Sultan Iskandar building is operational, we hope the government will revive the bridge project to overcome traffic problems in the city centre.'

Johor's Umno Youth leader Khalid Mohamad said the Sultan Iskandar building, which houses the new CIQ complex, would not be able to function at its optimum without a new bridge.