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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2nd Penang bridge delayed due to rising costs

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the construction of the Second Penang Bridge will be delayed following problems getting the allocated land, the best design and increasing building costs.

“Several matters have delayed its construction. Firstly in getting the land that had been allocated for building the bridge.

“Secondly, there is a need to ensure that the given design is the most suited and also the issue of cost where there may be changes due to increased prices,” he told reporters after officiating the Asia-Europe Culture Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur today.

Abdullah said this when asked on why the building of the bridge was being reviewed under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP).

He also said several other projects under the 9MP are being reviewed as well.

The building of the 24-km bridge linking Batu Kawan in Seberang Perai south and Batu Maung on the island has been receiving criticisms from various parties for its delay.

The original agreement between UEM Group Bhd and its consortium partner China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has been extended for nine months to provide more negotiation time for them to reach an agreement that will be same with the original deal.

Earlier, UEM had given the guarantee that the building of the Second Penang Bridge will be smooth and completed as scheduled in 2011.

The bridge will be the longest in Malaysia and South East Asia once it is completed.

Last year, Malaysia and China signed a loan facility worth RM2.7 billion for the building of the bridge. The parties involved were the Government of Malaysia, Exim Bank from China and Bank Pembangunan (Malaysia) Bhd.

By Bernama

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