The Melaka state government is planning to build an undersea tunnel that connects the state to Kota Dumai in Sumatra, Indonesia, said the state’s Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.
The announcement was made during the launch of the Melaka Week at the ongoing Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The chief minister said according to plans, the tunnel would be built across the Straits of Melaka. “This is a long-term plan. The shortest distance between Melaka and Kota Dumai is 47 kilometres,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Melaka senior executive councillor for Investment, Industry and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh said so far only one company had expressed interest in the project.
“The firm from Malaysia is only capable of meeting 50% of the total project cost.
“If everything goes smoothly, construction of the tunnel will take 4 to 5 years,” he added.
Naturally, as the project involves 2 different countries, it will need the agreement and cooperation of the Indonesian government before the project can be implemented.
This is not the first time such a project was brought up. In 2019, Bloomberg reported that the Indonesian government was considering a bridge linking Melaka and Sumatra as part of a US$70 billion plan to build toll highways to link Indonesia’s islands together.
In the meantime, the state government has also invited investors in the Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone, which involves the reclamation of a 23,000-acre (9,300-hectare) site spanning 33km.
Sulaiman said the zone is suitable for investments in shipping, maritime activities, logistics and manufacturing sectors.
The project will comprise of a container centre, ferry and cruise ship terminal, duty-free zone, logistics hub, oil and gas terminal, ship repair facility as well as for ship-to-ship transfer activities.