SINGAPORE: Both Malaysia and Singapore are in "dire need of a third bridge" linking both countries, said Malaysian Minister for Water, Land and Natural Resources Xavier Jayakumar on Thursday (Oct 18).
He said that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's recent interest in reviving the "crooked bridge" project - a bridge linking Johor and Singapore - seemed to have received "mostly opposing and negative views".
But Dr Jayakumar believes that a third bridge is needed to improve connectivity between the two countries.
He said: "At present, those who commute across both countries on a daily basis are well aware of the long and arduous hours to get across the present two bridges, namely the Causeway and the Second Link.
"The issue continues to plague motorists with the heavy traffic jam becoming much worse during the festive season."
It was Dr Mahathir who first mooted the crooked bridge project during his first stint as prime minister.
The original concept of the bridge involved a six-lane highway that would curve in a way that would allow vessels to pass under it.
But the project was dropped by Dr Mahathir’s successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
In August, Dr Mahathir said that there is "some" plan to build a third link with Singapore.
But Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Wednesday that the country's current economic situation is not conducive for reviving the project.
Dr Jayakumar added that he agreed with Mr Azmin's views that the "project is not an immediate priority due to current economic conditions", but maintained that it should be considered.
"This is something that I am sure the Singapore government will consider for the mutual long term benefit of both countries," Dr Jayakumar said.
"Having listened to the feedback of both Johoreans and Singaporeans on the matter over the years, a proposed third bridge could be constructed from Pasir Gudang, Johor and connects to Pulau Punggol Barat, Singapore."
"If we have three bridges in future, I strongly believe that travel between the two countries would be a breeze," Dr Jayakumar added.
The Star on Tuesday quoted Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian as saying that the Johor state government will be meeting the Singapore government in late October to revive the project.
However, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that the country has not received any official proposal or communications from Malaysia on the crooked bridge "or any other new link between Singapore and Malaysia".