Musa creating sand monopoly

(FMT) – The DAP warns of rising building costs if Sabah Economic Development Corporation is given exclusive rights to sand extraction.

The Musa Aman-led government’s decision to grant Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco) the exclusive right to manage sand extraction in the state will likely lead to the creation of a cartel and the eventual rise in building costs.


Painting this picture are two opposition groups which have decried the decision. According to Sabah DAP, Sedco is a government agency and the contract should rightfully go to a new company if the Land and Survey Department refused to undertake the project.

Party secretary Dr Edwin Bosi said that while Land and Survey Department director Osman Jamal had conceded that they were unable to curtail sand theft due to shortage of manpower, it was simply a “lame excuse”.

“This is a very lame excuse. If the sand extraction is properly managed, it will be lucrative enough to allow the employment of more personnel for its enforcement unit.

“We feel that the director (Osman) has not exhausted his options but has quickly given the river sand extraction rights to Sedco, which is tantamount to jumping from a frying pan into a fire,” he said.

He reminded the government that Sedco is a government agency that already has its hands full.

“We have heard of its (Sedco) inability to manage the cement project, for example. We see the POIC (Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) and KKIP (Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park) projects struggling to float.

“Giving it (Sedco) the task to manage the river sand extraction is adding another problem to its already heavy burden,” said Bosi.

Corrupt deals await

He said DAP was also worried that a monopoly over sand trade would materialise in the building industry.

“Some of us believe that this will lead to contracts being given without open tender and contractors linked to BN politicians would be preferred, ” he said.

Bosi recommended that the Sabah government send its officials to Selangor to study how it is managing its profitable river sand extraction project.

The Selangor government had collected RM10.8 million in revenue in 2010. It was a 10-fold increase from 2008 when Selangor was governed by BN. In 2008, the state BN government earned RM1.47 million from sand.

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