Thursday, May 21, 2009


Well, how is the causeway lately?
It seems like the indications from the media is there is no hurry to revive the crooked bridge. However, I have seen some things lately which may seem otherwise:
1. There seems to be some construction at the side of the current super curvy route from the Malaysian immigration building to the causeway. Yes, it seems like some work is done to widen the two lanes road. I may be wrong but it looks like it to me.
2. I see many construction vehicles near the half done bridge of Dr. Mahathir lately. Anybody who passes through and sees them there will speculate that there is some work related to the continuation of the half done bridge.
3. The work of knocking down the old immigration complex is in progress. So far, they have knocked down 1/3 buildings and in the process of knocking the 2/3 of them. They can't just knock everything down at once since we are still passing through the old immigration complex to enter the causeway. The three buildings were used to host human traffic via buses, to host vans and red channel (declare of goods) and green channel (nothing to declare). The one left is the green channel building which we are using currently.

How is the traffic condition lately?
Since the swine flu or the H1N1 flu outbreak, traffic has been extremely minimal in the causeway. I don't know whether you can say it is caused by the flu or whether the economy has really gone so very bad. Nowadays, I can go through the causeway in 5 minutes. No long human queues, no long vehicle queues, smooth rides all the way to the Singapore immigration. Where are all the humans and vehicles?

What about the H1N1 outbreak screening?
Singapore already have the equipments all ready and in place when WHO raised it to Level 5. Screening started screening full time I believe since WHO raised the level of influenza pandemic alert to phase 5. Although there was a slight jam on the first two days, but the implementation was fully smooth after that. Malaysia only started screening when the first case appeared in Kuala Lumpur, which was just last weekend.

How is the condition of the Johor Bahru CIQ building?
Still the same, facilities broken down everywhere. Some automatic passport clearance counters can be left broken down for days without repair and just recently two escalators broke down at the same time, forcing people to use the stairs or the lifts. I know one escalator had been left broken down for many days without repair. They have started to allow two operators to start simple grocery business beside the bus platforms. It has been rather quiet lately in terms of human traffic. I don't know whether it is the H1N1 flu or whether it is the economy.

Read more:
Bridge project no rush

As well as this:
No rush into decision to replace Causeway

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — His rise to Prime Minister coincided with the revival of talk about the Causeway being replaced, leading to much speculation in the media.

But Datuk Seri Najib Razak was cautious when discussing the subject during an interview with The Straits Times, acknowledging that it came with much historical baggage.

While he felt that the Causeway should be improved to facilitate the movement of people between Singapore and Malaysia, what replaces it needs fuller study.

“Logic says that progress means change, progress means development, progress means more comfort and better communication and transport for the peoples of Malaysia and Singapore,” he said.

“So if you translate that, it means that the Causeway should be replaced, then so be it, but we should not be hasty about it. Let's look at all angles, to see whether both countries are comfortable with the project.”

Building a bridge to replace the Causeway has been a thorny issue in bilateral relations. It was an initiative of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who repeatedly raised the issue in the last few years of his term.

When Singapore wanted to discuss the bridge as part of a package of bilateral trade-offs, he insisted that Malaysia could build an elevated bridge to replace Malaysia's half of the Causeway — an S-shaped half-bridge widely dubbed the “crooked bridge”. The plan was eventually scrapped by Dr Mahathir's successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2006, but there have been calls for it to be revived since Najib — who is seen as a protege of Dr Mahathir — assumed premiership.

Johor business leaders in particular have been clamouring for it, claiming that a new bridge would resuscitate flagging businesses in the area.

When asked about the prospects of building the bridge — crooked or otherwise — Najib said his administration would not be rushed into a decision.

“We take it in our stride. I've just been in office for 1½ months. It's something that we need to look into, because there are some issues that were tied to the bridge before,” he said.

“Reopening the whole thing: I wouldn't want to proceed until there's a real, positive finality to the whole project. If I start reviving the bridge project, I want to see successful conclusion. I don't want it to be a repeat of what happened.

“So let's get a study of all aspects of the project, and there's no timeframe of course. It's not something that will happen immediately. But we'll take it in our stride.” — The Straits Times

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