Malaysia to detail Padma Bridge plan Friday

Malaysia is holding a press briefing Friday on its plan for the Padma Bridge project, the High Commission of Malaysia in Dhaka said on Thursday. Datu’ Seri S Samy Vellu, Special Envoy to India and South Asia on Infrastructure, will brief journalists on the Malaysia’s proposal for the bridge project.

Earlier on March 4, the envoy in a statement said Malaysia reached an agreement with the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) on the final terms of implementing the Padma Bridge project. He said they had agreed preliminary on the terms proposed by the BBA, the authorities for implementing the bridge project.

According to the statement, the preliminary agreement was reached after two days of intense negotiations between the Special Envoy’s Office for Infrastructure to India and South Asia, Prime Minister’s Department, Government of Malaysia and the BBA on February 20-21 this year in Dhaka.

Following the statement, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, however, told media that the government was yet to say anything to Malaysia. He also said that the government would give a total plan of the project in 15 to 20 days.

On April 12 last, Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government to form a consortium to implement the project and continued a negotiation in the past one year.

Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday finalised the contractor for constructing the approach road of the multipurpose bridge project at the Jazira point.

The government on April 28, 2011, signed a $1.2 billion loan agreement with the World Bank (WB) for construction of the 6.5-kilometer bridge project, but cancelled the deal on June 29, 2012, citing corruption concerns. The Bank, however, announced its engagement anew in the project on September 20, 2012 under some conditions. The government early this year requested the WB for a faster decision so it could start the project soon.

But, the Bank denied financing the project until certain conditions are met, making WB funding to the project uncertain and apparently living the government no option than seeking alternative funding arrangement. Against the backdrop, the government on January 31 withdrew the request to the WB financing for Padma Bridge.


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