Malaysia submits draft of costly Padma funding proposal

News - Malaysia places draft proposal for Padma Bridge construction
Dhaka, June 28 (UNB) – Malaysia on Thursday placed a draft proposal for signing a final deal for the construction of the much-talked-about Padma Bridge.

Malaysian special envoy for South Asia on Infrastructure Dato’ Seri S Samy Vellu formally submitted the draft proposal to Communications and Railways Minister Obaidul Quader.

Bridges Division secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam and project director of Padma Bridge Shafiqul Islam were, among others, present on the occasion.

Replying to a query, Obaidul Quader said the draft proposal would be scrutinised. “First of all, there’ll be discussions among ourselves and then with the Malaysian government. Our national, economic and public interests will be given priority while accepting the proposal,” he said.

About financing of the project by the World Bank, the minister said the Ministry of Finance has been negotiating with the bank for reaching an amiable solution to the issue but alternative ways remain open until the treaty is signed with the Malaysian government.

Quader expressed the hope that it would be possible for the government to immediately reach an understanding with Malaysia upholding the national interests.

“Padma Bridge is a dream bridge for the people of the country. Country’s economic growth will get a boost once the bridge is built,” he said.

In October last year, the World Bank temporarily suspended its funding for the Padma Bridge project following charges of corruption. The World Bank had promised $1.2-billion financing for the country’s longest bridge over the Padma River.

In April this year, Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia to build the Padma Bridge and associated facilities, including other infrastructure projects.