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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 05:53 GMT
Malaysia plans 'crooked' bridge
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia says it will go ahead with controversial plans to build a crooked bridge across half the strait it shares with Singapore.

It took the decision unilaterally after talks about replacing an existing causeway failed to produce agreement.

The plan for the bizarre bridge was first put forward by Malaysia's former leader Mahatir Mohammad.

The bridge is one of many issues to strain ties between Malaysia and Singapore since their union ended.

The Malaysians want to replace the causeway that links it to the island state with a bridge.

The causeway hampers access to ports on the Malaysian side, benefiting Singapore whose economy relies heavily on its port.

So the Malaysians now say they will simply replace their half of the causeway.

But because the span is short and the bridge will need to gain height to allow shipping to pass beneath it, it will have to be crooked.

The Malaysians are calling it the "scenic bridge", but say if the Singaporeans want it to be straight and less scenic they will have to come back to the table and agree to replace the whole causeway with a single span.

One Malaysian politician told the Star newspaper that the shape of the bridge would be a reflection of relations between the two countries.

Singaporean sources told the BBC that this statement implies the Singaporeans are straight while the Malaysians are crooked.


SEE ALSO:
KL, Singapore tackle disputes
13 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Singapore land row rumbles on
09 Oct 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's PM pledges openness
03 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Malaysia
15 Mar 03 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Singapore
26 Aug 03 |  Country profiles


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