A widely applauded serpentine design for a footbridge over Perth's Swan River would not have been chosen if the state government knew it had to be built in Malaysia, Premier Colin Barnett says.

Mr Barnett says cabinet signed off on the design, which was one of four and had been recommended by the project team, without being informed it would be built overseas. “I’ve got to say I was a little bit concerned about this one – it was quite an exotic design…