Frankly Speaking: End of the road for Melaka Gateway?

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 22, 2021 - February 28, 2021.
Frankly Speaking: End of the road for Melaka Gateway?
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Last week, KAJ Development Sdn Bhd — the private company looking to develop the multi-billion ringgit Melaka Gateway coastal reclamation project — failed to get the court to review the state government’s decision to cancel the development.

KAJ was denied leave, as it was ruled that there was no public law element in the state’s decision. As such, its judicial review application was dismissed. KAJ is understood to have filed an appeal.

The dispute arose after the state government late last year terminated its three-year concession for land reclamation of islands that would form the foundation of the project. The development is hinged on the construction of a mega port, a cruise terminal, and a free trade economic zone, among others.

While the plan may have its merits, several questions need to be answered.

First, the project was launched in 2014 by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Why has progress been so slow? 

Construction of the cruise terminal was scheduled to commence in 2016. Has any cruise outfit signed on to utilise the facilities? What stage is the construction at?

There was also news of a container port being developed. Similarly, has any container shipping company signed on to use the port? And why the need for a container terminal so close to Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor?

In September 2016, KAJ inked a deal with China state-owned Powerchina International Group Ltd to develop Melaka Gateway, with investments expected to reach RM30 billion in two years. 

What are the reasons for this ambitious project becoming a flop and what will happen to what is left of it?

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