Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Indonesia / Malaysia Bridge over strait good for trade and tourism

The proposed Straits of Malacca Bridge between Malacca and Riau in Sumatra will open up economic opportunities between Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Malacca has a population of 800,000 and has 40,000 vehicles including buses and lorries entering the state daily. We also received 7.2 million tourists last year,” said Chief Mi­nister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

“In Sumatra, where the bridge is linked through Dumai, there are 70 million people and 10% are rich. They have money and come to Malacca for health tourism.

“They are eager to come to Malaysia and Thailand for their holidays,” he said in his speech after attending a seminar organised by the project’s developer, Straits of Malacca Partners Sdn Bhd.

“I believe it will boost tourism. And the Indonesian economy is growing,” he added.

Asked about the likely starting date, Mohd Ali said the developer was still waiting for an official answer from both governments.

Straits of Malacca Partners chair­man Tan Sri Ibrahim Zain told reporters that a formal request had been sent to the Federal Go­vernment a month ago.

“The groundwork for the project started three years ago,” he said.

He said studies showed that the project’s two main design schemes – bridge plan and a bridge-tunnel plan – were technically feasible.

He said the cost was now estimated at US$12.5bil (RM44bil). He said that the Export-Import Bank of China was willing to fund 85% of the total cost.

Source : STAR
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