The Opposition claims that Labuan is a bridge too far under the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Putrajaya.
KOTA KINABALU: The Opposition claims that the long-proposed bridge between the Sabah mainland and Labuan island, the international offshore financial centre, would only become a reality once it seizes the reins of power from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Putrajaya. “Such a project would only remain a dream under the BN.”
“Putrajaya did not do it when the economy was doing better, and now that the outlook has turned gloomy, they certainly will not do it.”
PKR Labuan chief Simsudin Sidek added that had its candidate for the island’s only parliamentary seat, Ibrahim Menudin, won in the last General Election and Pakatan installed in Putrajaya, “the tenders for the bridge would have been awarded by now”.
He estimates the cost of the bridge to be at least RM5 billion. “The amount is huge but we can carry out the project by raising the oil royalty for Sabah, from the present measly 5 per cent, to at least 20 per cent.”
“Sabah PKR chief Lajim Ukin also agrees that the bridge can become a reality if the financial aspects are tackled.”
Simsudin was recalling that many voters fell for the BN propaganda on development “but it’s clear that the ruling party makes promises it has no intention of keeping”.
“We pledged the Labuan Bridge project, during the campaign for GE13, complete with an artistic rendering of the development.”
Labuan MP Rozman Isli, in a comment, disclosed that he did lead a delegation of Labuan Corporation (LC) directors to meet with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) on the proposed Labuan Bridge project. “We told the EPU that Yayasan Pendidikan Labuan (YPL) was willing to undertake the bridge project provided it was given reclamation rights for the offshore area at the Labuan and Menumbuk ends, where the bridge begins and ends, to help finance the development.”
The YPL proposal was basically along the same lines as a plan mooted by former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh who has linked up with interested partiers in China.
Simsudin resumed that the bridge was vital to Labuan especially in view of the on-going Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak, while work on the Sabah sector would have to begin soon as well. “Putrajaya, also a Federal Territory but which came 11 years after Labuan, was way ahead of the island in development.”
Kuala Lumpur is the first Federal Territory for which Putrajaya paid a huge compensation to the Selangor Government. Likewise, the Federal Government paid the Selangor Government a huge compensation for Putrajaya. “The Sabah Government did not get any compensation when Labuan became a Federal Territory.”
“The least that Putrajaya can do was to at least build the bridge.’