PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is confident that Thailand’s plan to build a land bridge between the Indian and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to the Straits of Melaka will benefit Malaysia.
The US$28 billion (RM131.31 billion) project will see the construction of two Thai ports – Ranong in the west and Chumphon in the east – that will be connected by road or rail, thus giving vessels a way to bypass Malaysian ports.
Thailand’s prime minister Srettha Thavisin previously said the land route could reduce travel time for ships by up to four days and cut costs by up to 15%.
In a Bernama report, Anwar today said Srettha had assured him of Malaysia’s involvement in the project.
“The land bridge is still in the initial stage but in the discussions (with Srettha), (I was told) it will involve Malaysia – especially the northern peninsula,” he told the media after a one-day working visit to Sadao, Songkhla, in Thailand.
“We (will) have benefits (from the project), whether in terms of facilities there or equity… (It’s) still too early for discussions (on that).
“But the spirit displayed by the Thai prime minister was clear when he told me that they will make sure Malaysia will benefit and be involved in the project.”
Anwar’s working visit to Sadao was aimed at discussing issues related to Malaysia-Thailand bilateral cooperation with Srettha.
The visit, at Srettha’s invitation, was to monitor the progress of the road alignment project connecting the Bukit Kayu Hitam immigration, customs, quarantine and security (ICQS) checkpoint in Malaysia and the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex in Sadao.