A consultant to carry out the Techno-Economic Feasibility Study on the Labuan-Menumbok Bridge is expected to be appointed this month, said Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
"The Economic Planning Unit has allocated RM14.31 million in Budget 2018 to carry out the study and I will go to Labuan to announce it together with representatives from the Federal Territory Ministry," he said, after officiating the International Conference on Social Transformation, Community and Sustainability Development at Promenade Hotel, Wednesday.
The Labuan-Menumbok Bridge has been identified by the Government as a key enabler to spur the future economic development of Labuan and its surrounding regions.
Being strategically placed, this will leverage on Labuan's current position as a global and regional centre for international business and finance and is in line with the Government's aspiration to develop Labuan into a smart and sustainable island city with a well-diversified economy by 2030.
Recently, to the delight of the people of Labuan and Sabah, the Government approved the proposed bridge and set aside RM14.31m for the study.
Abdul Rahman said the implementation of the techno economic feasibility study is critical to determine the technical feasibility and address the financial and economic appraisal of the project.
"The study will involve comprehensive data collection and engineering studies to develop the technical concept for the project.
"The scope will include evaluation of the risks involved, action required for mitigation measures and to provide immediate recommendations for the implementation of the project on a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) procurement model," he said.
On the distance of the bridge, he said he does not have the figure at the moment because there are many alignments, thus the techno economic feasibility study will take into account the most appropriate alignment.
"If I remember correctly, there is an island there called Daat, so the study will see if the bridge goes through the island, stop there and continue or is it direct to Menumbok.
"The State Government has also been thinking of what development will be made in Menumbok area and finally we will connect this bridge to the Pan Borneo so that it makes the trip a comfortable one," he said.
He said the techno economic feasibility study will not take so long because it's not really a complicated bridge in that sense.
"But we want to know where does it start, where does it ends, what kind of bridge, what kind of technology that goes into the bridge and what is the technical drawing and more importantly how do we finance it in a way whether it is development expenditure or from PFI," he said.
The techno economic feasibility study will include preliminary engineering design, economic and financial analysis, road safety audit and third party field works such as soil investigation, survey, coastal studies, traffic studies and environmental studies.
The main objective of the techno economic feasibility study is to prepare an updated estimated project cost using preliminary engineering design plans and to evaluate potential procurement models utilising the PFI scheme.
These findings will be used to establish benchmark for the next stage of project implementation namely to prepare a Request for Proposal and call for an open tender to identify suitable investors from the private sector.
In 2010, a RM4m feasibility study carried out by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) highlighted the need for the Labuan -Menumbok Bridge Link.
"The feasibility study, however, did not address the financial and economic appraisal of the project.
The feasibility study was also very preliminary and insufficient to render itself for the development of possible PFI procurement models.
"Therefore the techno economic feasibility study is needed in order to address these matters for the next stage of project implementation," said Abdul Rahman who urged the people not to believe in rumours that say this is just an ordinary study.
Generally the proposed bridge was welcomed by most quarters with the opposition only questioning the need for yet another study costing RM14m.