KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — The Sultan of Johor has rejected the proposed third bridge linking Malaysia and Singapore, in the latest show of power by the royalty after he was apparently not even consulted by either government on the proposal.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said recently the government was keen on pursuing the idea of a third bridge near the eastern coast of Johor.
But the proposal has already drawn some criticism from Umno leaders who are concern Malaysia would have to lift the ban on the sale of sand to Singapore before the bridge could be built.
The Johor Sultan's remarks, delivered by the Tunku Mahkota Tunku Ibrahim Ismail at the opening of the state legislature this morning, are the latest rebuff for Najib over the bridge.
"I was told by the Sultan that he does not agree with the proposal to build a third bridge," said the Tunku Mahkota.
A number of Umno leaders have already said that if Singapore wants sand as part of the deal for the third bridge, it's a "no go".
For them, whatever the benefits the construction of the third bridge may bring must not come at the expense of the country's sovereignty.
This issue came up when Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said that it would not make sense for it to agree on a third bridge if Johor does not lift its ban on the export of sand to the republic, which has been in place since 1997.
Government officials say Najib's administration is willing to resolve outstanding bilateral issues with Singapore and consider lifting the ban on sale of sand to the republic.
But Najib's efforts, ironically, may be undermined by his own party members, especially those from the southern states who appear reluctant to see Singapore expand through land reclamation with Malaysian sand.
Najib had mooted the idea of a third bridge when he visited Singapore last month.
- sumber : Malaysian Insider
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