Plan to build 120km bridge or tunnel across sea to link M'sia to Indonesia will take 20 years

Super ambitious.

Belmont Lay | September 09, 2022, 03:31 PM

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A super ambitious plan was revealed to the public on Sep. 8 regarding a 120km link over the sea to be built between Melaka, Malaysia and Dumai in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The plan was disclosed by Melaka investment, industry, entrepreneur development and cooperatives committee chairman Ab Rauf Yusoh, reported Malaysia media Bernama.

He said a tunnel or a bridge will start at Telok Gong in Masjid Tanah in Melaka, and the proposed development would take 20 years to complete with the help of the private sector.

If constructed, the link will cut across the strait, a major shipping lane, separating the two countries.

Speaking on camera, Ab Rauf appeared confident that the plan will go ahead.

Bernama reported Ab Rauf as saying: "The proposal on the project has been submitted by the private sector and both countries have in principle agreed to a detailed study on the matter."

"On the part of the state government, we have brought all government agencies to visit the area where the proposed new route will be built."

He added that when completed, the link across the Strait of Malacca would have a major impact on the economic development of both countries.

Based on "One Belt One Road" concept

Ab Rauf even said the project was to be built using the "One Belt One Road" concept, and that it would be a new icon for Malaysia and Indonesia.

The "One Belt One Road" concept originated from China in 2013, which involves the Chinese government investing in nearly 150 countries and international organisations as part of a global infrastructure development strategy.

The Malaysian leader also said the link would involve the construction of various infrastructure including traffic dispersal areas and the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex.

Even though details were scant, Ab Rauf added that the development of the area would be carried out by the Melaka Corporation and was expected to also contribute to the opening of a new town in Masjid Tanah.

Scepticism regarding plan

Within a day of the news of the link being reported, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong slammed the idea, questioned its feasibility, and called on Ab Rauf to stop making “incomplete and irresponsible” announcements on a purported route linking Malaysia and Indonesia.

Free Malaysia Today reported that Khoo issued a statement saying that the state government ought to provide the full details and engage with stakeholders, while disclosing if a feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis has been done for the project.

“Rauf and the state government should stop making ad hoc, inconsistent and incomplete announcements on the project,” Khoo, who is a member of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), said.

“Such vague announcements are highly irresponsible. They create doubt and confusion among the public and investors, and tarnish the state government’s credibility.”

Khoo also noted that Ab Rauf had previously also announced a 47km undersea railway tunnel linking Melaka and Dumai in March 2022.

The MP also said the federal government should come out to state its stance on the matter as it would be a major public infrastructure project involving cross-border cooperation with another country.

This was to prevent the construction of another "white elephant" project in the state.

Khoo also said Rauf needed to disclose the private entity involved and find out if it has the wherewithal to carry out such a massive undertaking.

Top photos via Berita RTM & Google Maps