BY IKMAL ROZLAN
The Melaka state government has announced that it has greenlit a proposal to build a route between Malaysia and Indonesia, directly linking the two countries via the state. Melaka Investment, Industry, Entrepreneur Development, and Cooperatives Committee chairman Ab Rauf Yusoh said that it would involve either a bridge or a tunnel, implying that the plan is still in the very early stages with not even the type of connection being confirmed yet.
The project, which was submitted and will be developed by the private sector, will connect Telok Gong in Masjid Tanah to Kota Dumai in Sumatra, involving a distance of 120KM. Ab Rauf added that the construction will take a whopping 20 years and will majorly impact the economy of both nations.
Not much else has been revealed about the development, including the cost, but both Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed in principle to study the matter in detail. The chairman said that the project will be built using the concept of “One Belt One Road”, and that it would be a new icon for the two countries.
The route will also involve the construction of various infrastructure, including traffic dispersal areas and an Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex. Masjid Tanah, covering an area of 2,023 hectares, will see a new industrial area be developed in stages by Melaka Corp, as well as a new town.
Currently, it’s very much unclear whether or not this project is the same as the undersea tunnel development announced by Melaka back in March, which would similarly connect the state to Kota Dumai. While the end points are the same, the details between the previous announcement and this one vary widely.
For one thing, the undersea tunnel was planned for a rail system network, while the link project in this report make no mention of it. The 120KM travel distance is also alarmingly different from the 47KM estimate previously stated. And as for the completion timeframe, Ab Rauf previously said it would only take four to five years, not two decades.
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