JOHOR BARU, Dec 1 — The much talked-about third bridge linking Malaysia to Singapore will likely be decided only after a comprehensive research is carried out on its necessity to alleviate traffic congestion into Johor, the home minister said today.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin indicated that the government hoped to embark on the “holistic research” early next year once there are funds for it, but that the decision will be reached likely only after October.
“This will be done after we received feedback from the holistic research, including the location of the third bridge, that will also be based on the research by a concession company.
“The research is expected to cost about RM5 million and would take about nine months to be completed,” he told reporters after chairing a committee meeting on the congestion issue at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) here.
Also present at the meeting were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad and Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Jamil Rakon.
Muhyiddin, who is also Pagoh MP and Bukit Gambir assemblyman said, any bilateral discussion with Singapore concerning the third bridge can only be done after Putrajaya okays the proposal.
He also said the government will look into the most practical and feasible methods to resolve the growing congestion problems in south Johor.
“Apart on the matter of the third bridge, another initiative that was brought-up in the meeting here today was to solve the current congestion issue by increasing the number of personnel at both CIQ facilities.
“This proposal includes increasing the number of both customs and immigration officers that will only be decided by the Public Service Department,” said Muhyiddin.
Talks of a third bridge were floated in August last year.
Then Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian said the state government was keen to link Pengerang on Johor’s south-east with Singapore’s Pulau Ubin.
Several other locations were suggested, including Pasir Gudang and Pontian, the latter to Johor’s south-west.
The idea was to create alternative routes for heavy and commercial vehicles and by doing so, redirect traffic to either side the state’s flanks and free the Johor Causeway and the Second Link Crossing for lighter vehicles.
It is estimated that more than 450,000 people enter and exit Singapore from Johor via both the Johor Causeway in Johor Baru and the Second Link Crossing in Gelang Patah on a daily basis, in what can be described as one of the region’s busiest border crossings.