KOTA KINABALU, Nov 20 -- Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) does not see the logic in imposing tolls on consumers using the Labuan-Sabah bridge should it eventually materialise.
Its president Datuk Yong Teck Lee who is also a former Sabah chief minister said tolls defeat the entire purpose of the bridge that is meant to feasibly link the island of Labuan to mainland Sabah.
“The core objectives of the bridge are to reduce travelling time and to maximise the safety and convenience of travellers. The bridge will also reduce the costs of transporting passengers and goods between Labuan and the Sabah mainland.
“In other words, tolls at the Labuan bridge will add to costs and add delays to transportation between Labuan and Sabah,” he said in a statement here, today.
On Nov 18, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the government had agreed to build a bridge connecting Labuan to mainland Sabah through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
The ministry together with the Works Ministry are finalising the terms of reference for the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to build the bridge.
Yong said Labuan, which was made a federal territory in 1984, deserves the bridge at no extra costs.
“Now that the federal government has announced open invitations to submit PFIs from the private sector to build the bridge, the proposals could entail the imposition of road tolls that will eventually compromise the core objectives of the bridge.
“Any PFI proposal should exclude the imposition of road tolls,” he stressed.
Yong further said the federal government should take advantage of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area)-China Cooperation fund which in 2019 offered a US$5 billion (US$1 = RM4.09) special loan to BIMP-EAGA, which was formed in 1994.
He said Sabah is at the frontier of the BIMP-EAGA and is ideally situated to benefit from the fund, which is managed by China Development Bank.
A mere 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the fund, amounting to US$1-US$1.5 billion would be sufficient to build and complete the bridge, he added.
Malaysian National News Agency
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