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Indonesia plans 7km bridge to link Batam and Bintan

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JAKARTA: Indonesia plans to build a 7km bridge to connect two islands in the Malacca Strait, close to Singapore, as part of efforts to develop industry and tourism in the area, the government said yesterday.

The bridge connecting Batam and Bintan islands will cost an estimated 4 trillion rupiah (S$384 million), the office of the Cabinet secretary said in a statement yesterday.

The bridge aims to capitalise on the expansion of Singapore's Changi Airport with the development of a new Terminal 5, which will have transport connections to Bintan.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has made building infrastructure the cornerstone of his first term in office, has pledged to continue cutting bottlenecks in South-east Asia's largest economy in his second term, which starts in October.

His administration has also sought to market Batam, Indonesia's only free trade zone, to investors looking to relocate factories out of China amid a simmering trade war between Beijing and Washington.

Construction of the bridge is due to start next year and will take three to four years to complete, the office said.

In a separate development, Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Riau Islands Governor Nurdin Basirun and five others during a meeting at the governor's residence on Wednesday.

The five individuals have been identified as a regional leader, the regional administration's maritime affairs agency head and business people.

The KPK apprehended Mr Nurdin for reportedly accepting $6,000 in bribes from the business people in exchange for a land reclamation permit.

The governor, along with the others, has been transferred to the Tanjung Pinang police station in Bintan for further questioning.

"Investigators also seized $6,000. We suspect the illicit transaction is related to the issuance of a permit for a reclamation plan in Riau Islands," KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said in a statement.

He added that KPK investigators alleged that money had been handed over prior to Wednesday's arrest. - REUTERS, JAKARTA POST