MBAM: Issue more licences for sand mining

KUALA LUMPUR: Amidst the controversy surrounding the Selangor state government and its illegal sand mining issue, the Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) has suggested that the government to issue more licences to sand mining operators.

Its president Kwan Foh Kwai said the shortage of sand supply could be avoided by opening up more sand pits and issuing new licences according to market demand, adding that with more licensed operators, illegal mining activities can be minimised and the state government can even gather more royalties from the licence issuance.

"By having more licensed operators, prices of sand will not be controlled by only a few players and a monopoly of the sand business can be avoided. Furthermore, with competition, sand prices will be more competitive," he said in a statement on Friday, July 16.

Kwan said sand prices should be rationalised among the states for a more uniformed price, pointing out that higher sand cost coupled with inadequate supply would lead to margin compression and delays in ongoing construction and building projects.

"Sand pit operators should manage the business with an eye for sustainability of sand supply. This is to ensure that the construction industry has sufficient supply of sand for development projects," he added.

Kwan said sand consumption would increase to approximately 20 million tons if the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) were to be implemented on schedule, from the previous 15 million to 17 million tons before 2007.

As the 10MP output goes into full gear, the need for sand would increase as more projects are expected to be implemented in from 2011 to 2015. MBAM is also calling for better sand extraction management to ensure there is minimal environmental impact such as flooding.

"MBAM would like to appeal to the government to take immediate action to review and implement these measures to ensure the sustainability of sand mining and sand supply for the construction industry," he added.
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