Sunday, 13th April, 2003

 

   
  Bridge to Labuan may be built soon
  By Joniston Bangkuai - [email protected]
  LABUAN, Sat. -  The construction of the long-awaited 14km bridge linking the mainland and Labuan may soon become a reality, Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman said today.

His optimism is based on a recent study by a contractor, which revealed that the project, initially estimated to cost RM1.5 billion, could be completed at a cost of RM500 million.

Suhaili said the bridge would be more feasible than building the proposed integrated port in Labuan, estimated to cost RM200 million. "Once the bridge is built, the port may end up as a white elephant," he told reporters after officiating at the simultaneous opening of the Labuan Umno Youth, Women and Puteri annual general meetings here.

Suhaili suggested that the allocation for the port be utilised for the bridge, potientially the country's second longest after the Penang Bridge. The construction of the bridge, he said, augured well for Sabah's proposal to develop the Menumbok area, which would serve as the landing point for the ferry service operating from Labuan.

"The construction of the proposed bridge would be beneficial also for Sarawak and neighbouring Brunei," Suhaili said, adding that the economic benefits of the project would be termendous.

Suhaili, who is alo Labuan Corporation deputy chairman, said the authorities in Sabah and Labuan should jointly pursue the project with the Federal Government and Labuan Corporation should meet to deliberate on the matter."

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and Industrial Development Minister Datuk Wences Anggang said recently the development of the Menumbok area would be speeded up if a bridge to Labuan was built.