Malaysia To Implement Padma Bridge Project Irrespective Of World Bank’s Decision

By Saraswathi Muniappan

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (Bernama) — The Malaysian government decided to partake in Bangladesh’s Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project as part of its mission to safeguard the well-being of another Muslim country, Malaysia’s special envoy to India and South Asia, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.

The Malaysian government came into the US$2.9 billion project when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to give it to Malaysia after the World Bank dropped from it almost a year ago.

“Hence, the Malaysian government will proceed with its proposal to implement the PMB project in Bangladesh irrespective of the World Bank’s decision to ‘engage anew’ in the project,” he said amid the World Bank’s decision to revive its loan deal for the project.

The Financial Express of Bangladesh reported that The World Bank is set to finance the PMB project as it has agreed to revive its cancelled US$1.20 billion loan Thursday.

A Bangladesh delegation has succeeded in Washington to convince the global lender to revive the loan, officials at the Bangladesh embassy in the US said.

The officials said the World Bank has also informed other co-financiers, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), about its decision.

Malaysia is currently making the final preparations to submit to the Bangladesh government. The draft concession agreement has already been submitted.

“The Malaysian government has already put in money and time in the preparation of the proposal. We have appointed world-class consultants and they have been working around the clock to finalise the proposal,” he told Bernama.

During the past five months, delegates and experts from Malaysia have made many trips to Dhaka to hold a series of negotiations with the Bangladesh government, which had also requested for several modifications to the former’s proposal, which has been undertaken.

“We understand that the World Bank had made a conditional offer to the Bangladesh government. However this will not in any way affect the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Kuala Lumpur and Dhaka to implement the project. We will proceed with our work and make our final submission on the cost estimate of the project as requested by the Bangladesh government,” he said.

The MoU for the project, which would be implemented under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on a Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) model, was signed in April this year.

Samy Vellu reiterated that the Malaysian government would honour its commitment to the Bangladesh government to complete the project in three years and four months.

“We will commence work within this year and complete it on time. The project will be financed by the concessionaire from Malaysia and its partner from China.”

The Bangladesh government will not be overly burdened by this project financially as the financing of this project comes from the Malaysian concessionaire, he said.

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