Wednesday, January 22

Association objects govt move on sand extraction


KOTA KINABALU: A decision by the state government to give exclusive right to sand extraction in the state to one of its subsidiaries, the Sabah Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO), received strong objection from the Sabah Sand Miners’ Association (SMA) here.

In a statement issued yesterday, SMA president Liew Siew Teong lamented that such a decision would adversely affect hundreds of sand mining operators in the state and thousands of their employees, besides many others in the spin-off industries such as transportation.

Describing the impact as far-reaching, he also regretted that the relevant authority did not consult the association and industry players, prior to making such a decision.

“We only came to know about it (the decision) through the newspapers,” he said.

Liew also highlighted the plight of industry players, especially on the difficulty in obtaining the sand mining licence, citing the many red tapes which they have to go through, which may sometime take up to three years. And the duration for the licence is only between two to three years.

“Some of us will have our licence expire by end of this year. The relevant authority didn’t even bother to inform nor consult us over the decision and this is very unfair to us,” he lamented.

Nonetheless, he said the association was not giving up hope, as yet, and would be seeking a meeting cum dialogue with the authority concerned with the hope of resolving the issue amicably.

He also called on those sand miners in the state who have yet to join the association, to immediately come forward to unite under it so as to better safeguard their common interests and welfare.

Established early this year and registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on August 17, SMA is currently intensifying its membership drive. The association can be contacted at 019 851 9965/019 881 3860.