Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Bridge Too Far - Not bridge that's crooked

You know, the single most important issue in the scenic bridge controversy, or shall we be more frank and appropriately term it ‘bullshit’, has been the 2 letters written in 2002 by former Singapore PM Goh Chok Tong to Dr Mahathir stating his agreement to the construction of the bridge.

Goh wrote on April 11 2002: “Between the new bridge to replace the entire Causeway, and one to replace just the Malaysian side of the Causeway, I like the former better. Once the new bridge is completed, the Causeway can be knocked down, which I prefer to be done after 2007.”

Then 2 days later, on 14 April he stated: “I have instructed my officials to deal with water and other issues individually and separately, on their stand-alone merits, and no longer as a package.”

In other words, Dr Mahathir had negotiated successfully with an agreeable Goh Chok Tong. Neither sand nor airspace was involved. Whether the bridge had been a sound project is another issue but the nonsense that came out of cabinet that there were legal constraints to its construction has been unbelievable.

Till today, everyone in the BN has evaded this singular fact, dancing around it as if the 2 letters are affected with avian flu. For obvious reasons of course – the 2 letters would have put paid to the stream of misinformation from the cabinet.

Wasn’t it Foreign Minister Syed Hamid who had declared: “The scenic bridge is not a subject of negotiation?” at the beginning of the cross-straits storm? Wasn’t it him who had uttered “the law was on our side”, and then in initial response to the PM’s cancellation, maintained that Malaysia would win its case should Singapore take the matter to international courts.

THEN, the PM claimed the cabinet had been in unanimous agreement on the cancellation of the bridge project.

Suddenly on Monday Syed Hamid sang a different tune that the Malaysia cannot act unilaterally on the construction of the bridge, contradicting his earlier assertions.

Najib who looked utterly lost apart from making a plaintive cry for Singapore to appreciate the benefits of the bridge one fine day has been silent since. I doubt he was in agreement with the PM's decision to cancel the construction, having lost mucho face.

Rais Yatim, former law minister, whom Matthias Chang said was informed of and sent documents pertaining to the Singapore government’s agreement during Dr Mahathir’s PM-ship, has been unseen and unheard since, maybe having run off to join the mak yong troupe in Kelantan?

What about the Singapore government? Now, this isn’t the sort of government where its PM just makes major international decisions with Malaysia without a full cabinet session. If Goh Chok Tong had said OK to Dr Mahathir, you may bet it’s all on file, including his 2 letters of agreement to the construction of a STRAIGHT bridge.

Why then has Singapore disputed that it had ever agreed to a new bridge. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The report is not an accurate reflection of what transpired at the meeting between Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on March 1 (2005)”.

But what about those 2 letters written in April 2002 by Goh Chok Tong to Dr Mahathir? If Singapore can make reference to a water treaty made more than 40 years ago, is it then saying they would dishonour its PM's letters to his Malaysian counterpart just 4 years ago?

Back to the Malaysian PM - if there have been legal constraints, why then has he continued with the 1.266 billion ringgit CIQ building in the last 3 years as PM, and recently gave the go-ahead for the bridge construction to Gerbang Perdana, which is owned by a consortium comprising Merong Mahawangsa Sdn Bhd, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Detik Nagasari Sdn Bhd.

Now Gerbang Perdana will walk away with a multi-million compensation for doing almost nothing. But wait, there is the promise of a new compensatory construction of a carriageway to link up with the CIQ building, which is nothing more than a white elephant without the bridge. Is this the hallmark of a thrifty government in a time of Malaysian economic difficulty?

KTemoc believes there is more to the intrigue and nonsense that have been unfolding. Then we hear good ole Anwar Ibrahim parachuting into the controversy with an offer to sort out the obstacles to the bridge that's supposedly cancelled.

But is it? Maybe both Anwar Ibrahim and the bridge may yet be resurrected, one politically and the other constructed. Maybe there may be a new DPM? Maybe I am too carried away with conspiracy theories. Maybe we'll all wait and see.


  1. I'm still waiting for the response you promised in your "Playboy" posting. Its almost a week now, am I waiting in vain?

    Or perhaps I should be more patient. After all, I do suppose it is very tough to find those none-existent articles that try to justify rape by blaming pornography. lol.

  2. Rewards come to those who wait patiently - in the meantime meditate on a growing stone. It's more rewarding though not as attracting as viewing Playboy's centrefold. Sorry but I am too tied up with the construction of bridges ;-)