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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Crooked Bridge Monument?

The Crooked Bridge project is starting to become part of Malaysia’s heritage and simply asking people to stop raising the issue merely fuels the imagination that some details have been omitted from all the different versions of how the government made its decisions.

As a democratic nation, citizens have the duty and the right to question policies and decisions and the government has the duty to answer those queries.

To be sure we are enjoying a period of relative openness that many appear to be uncomfortable, as it seems that people have an insatiable appetite for more information.

Just compare this with the time when the Crooked Bridge project was announced. There was not a single voice of protest or dissent when the project was launched and no one even mentioned that Singapore had not even put pen to paper to agree to build their end of the bridge.

Now we have a scrapped bridge that should have made the scrap dealers very happy. I wrote in an earlier entry that a Crooked Bridge is definitely preposterous and fortunately good sense has prevailed or we would have become the laughing stock of the world.

It now seems that not all the official papers have been released and this has given rise to even more questions.
This is what happens when people in authority do not take into consideration all factors and possibilities when dealing with issues of national interest.

It would have been better if there had been a full acknowledgement of mistakes or omissions the first time and make a public apology rather than the mishmash of contradicting claims by opposing sides. Sometimes to reduce public pressure, a minister may have to resign. That is the risk of public office and is not a disgrace if the public office is done with integrity.

It is better for a minister to resign so that the whole Cabinet does not get tainted with a grave error or scandal.

To keep a reminder of how governments should not make hasty decisions and commit billions of ringgit to dubious projects we should erect a small monument to the crooked bridge on the Causeway where they prepared the site for the take-off point with a grand ceremony.

I am sure Malaysians will be prepared to donate generously for this historic site. Limit the donation to RM2 each and let the ordinary folks contribute. Let’s say a budget of RM20,000?

Photo: malaysiakini

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