Nov 4, 2006

Demolish Causeway - Sultan Iskandar

As reported earlier by foreign press, finally this news is picked up by BERNAMA.

JOHOR BAHARU, Nov 4 (Bernama) -- The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Iskandar, on Saturday called for demolition of the Johor Causeway, the southern gateway into Malaysia, to provide the passage for ships to pass through the Tebrau Straits which separates Malaysia and Singapore.

He said the causeway, built by the British colonialists, was blocking ships from passing through the Tebrau Straits.

This had subjected Johor to constant condemnation, he said.

"The causeway has to be demolished, only then Johor will develop," he said when launching the multi-billion ringgit South Johor Economic Region (SJER) project in Danga Bay here today. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was present.

Built in 1920, the causeway, spanning 1,050m in length from Johor Baharu to Singapore and 18.18m in width, accommodates two railway lines and a 7.87m-wide road. A water pipeline from Johor to Singapore and a telecommunication cable also pass through the causeway.

On the SJER project, a joint initiative of the federal and state governments, the Sultan said he was confident the project would succeed with the cooperation of all parties.

He hoped it would open up opportunities for Johoreans and the benefits reaped by people from all strata of society in the state.

He also reminded Johoreans to learn a lesson from the experiences of the forefathers who were easily deceived by the British.

"We better not be naive to be not cheated again," he said.

The Ruler thanked the federal government, particularly Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, for allocating a substantial amount for Johor's economic development.

The Sultan later placed an iconic time capsule at the project site which would be kept until 2025.

In conjunction with the launch, the massive SJER project, developed by Khazanah Nasional, the federal government's investment arm, was given a new name -- Iskandar Development Region.

The project entails RM47 billion investment in the first five years from 2006 to 2010 and RM335 billion in the next 15 years between 2011 and 2025.

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