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Dr Mahathir asks, “Does the Government need to ask Singapore for permission to build the now desirable crooked bridge? Is Malaysia free to do things in its own territory? Are we really independent? I wonder.”

Well, I suppose. The mark of independence is doing whatever the hell you want in your territory. Unless you sign a treaty with another country (oh, I don’t know, the Separation Agreement 1965 for example) which governs the Causeway. It is impossible to build the “crooked bridge” (at least Mahathir isn’t calling it the “scenic bridge” anymore) without cutting, at least temporarily, water, road and rail links with Singapore.

And on the count of being useful – I’m not sure how useful a “crooked bridge” would be – logically, it would have the same effect on traffic in Johor Bahru’s CDB, but that’s about it. The Causeway itself has never been a traffic problem, it is the bottleneck that bounds the Causeway on both sides. And capacity wouldn’t exactly would grow if half the Causeway is suddenly a bridge.

And as for shipping (the original Malaysian fetish regarding the bridge), how much clearance would a half-bridge, some 600m long, would give to container ships? Its not like it would matter – the narrow and shallow straits is probably only navigationable these days with tugboats. Not sure if shipping companies would opt to avoid encircling Singapore because of the “crooked bridge”.

And lastly, a proper replacement bridge could have easily been built if Malaysia understood the concept of quid pro quo. Singapore has little to gain from a bridge, Malaysia has lots. Singapore’s requests for anything from relocation of the railway station to the use of Malaysian airspace have been denied. I don’t think it is a mark of sovereignty keeping Singaporean fighter jets out of Johor’s skies – it isn’t making Malaysia safer, at the very least.


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