A new bridge linking Sabah with Labuan Island is timely to cater for the continuous growth of the oil and gas industry and its related businesses, said architect of Labuan Bridge, Sim Sie Hong.
The need for the bridge was long overdue, he said yesterday during a briefing session for the leaders of Malay, Kadazandusun, Chinese and Indian chambers of commerce at Tiara Labuan Hotel.
"When the bridge is completed, the new integrated entreport in Labuan and the Sabah-Labuan Bridge will bring business opportunities to both Sabah and Labuan.
"There will be many economic spin-offs from the region especially in the Kuala Penyu peninsula stretching from Menumbok to Kuala Penyu town and toward Beaufort and Sipitang areas" he said.
Gaya House Sdn Bhd and Shandong Laigang Construction Co. Ltd. have entered into a joint venture agreement to set up a local incorporated company named Shandong Laigang Gaya Sdn. Bhd. to undertake the development of the two projects.
Hong disclosed that the combined asset of the two companies exceeded the value of RM50 billion.
"Gaya House Sdn. Bhd. possess local management expertise and the chairman of the company, Tan Sri Harris Salleh has an outstanding working relationship with the present government of Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
"Shandong Laigang Construction Co. Ltd has assets in China exceeding RMB80 billion with a paid up capital of RMB1 billion. Shandong Laigang is also part of Shandong Steel, which is listed in the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
"They are one of the largest steel companies in China. They have been involved in the construction of the longest bridge in China, Jiaozhouwan Bridge, which is 37 Km crossing the Jiao Zhou Bay from Qingdao to Huangdao in the Shandong Province" he said.
He said Shandong Laigang Construction Co. Ltd would undertake the financing and construction of the Labuan Integrated Entreport and the Sabah-Labuan Bridge.
The payment for the project from Sabah government and Labuan Corporation would be in lieu of land of 3,400 acres from Labuan Corporation and 2,000 acres from Sabah for various commercial, residential and marina development.
He said the Sabah government would benefit from 2,100 acres of reclaimed land and the 30 years of operation concession right of the Labuan Entreport and the Sabah-Labuan Bridge to be assigned by the developer.
The overall construction cost of the bridge, port and reclamation of the islands with basic infrastructure are estimated at US$5.4 billion and the overall development cost over 20 years is estimated at US$20 billion.
Hong said the 13Km Sabah-Labuan Bridge would not only benefit Labuan, but also to Menumbok, Kuala Penyu and its vicinity.
Currently, he said there was no problem funding the projects, but they were still waiting for the approval from the Sabah and Federal governments before they can move further in implementing the projects.