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Monopoly-free sand dredging formula in 6 months
Published on: Tuesday, February 07, 2012
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Kota Kinabalu: The Lands and Survey Department has been given six months to work out a win-win situation mechanism following its decision to give Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco) the exclusive right of managing the State's river sand extraction.Director, Datuk Osman Jamal said this showed that the move was not a monopoly exercise.

He said the mechanism was being drawn up by taking into consideration the interest of all the stakeholders namely, State Government, users in the private sector such as the Sabah Housing Developers Association (Shareda) and the sand mining operators themselves.

"So hopefully in six months' time a mechanism that is not a monopoly can be found that benefits all," he said, adding that if it was a monopoly there would be no win-win situation at all.

If a mechanism for a win-win situation could not be worked out within the six months period then the move would come to nothing, he said here.

Osman reiterated that with the move it means that it would expedite the

approval as well as renewal of permit for the sand dredging operators.

Sedco is required to pay a certain amount of deposit to the Lands and Survey Department before it allocates the quota for the river sand dredging operators.

In this respect, incidence of sand thefts could be controlled because one sand dredging operator would be given one whole area whereas previously several operators could be working in one area allowing opportunity for thieves to steal sand from the area between these operators.

"Furthermore, if there is a sand theft case then Sedco will be held responsible," he said.

Osman said the move would definitely boost the State Government's revenue apart from providing consistent supply of river sand for the state's development.

At the moment, he said all the operators would be operating as usual and those with expiring permit will still be able to renew to continue with their works.

"But this is not a monopoly and we hope to find the mechanism in six months' time for a win-win situation," he said.

Osman's announcement on Dec 14 last year was met with mixed reactions with some expressing objection as they felt that it was a move to monopolise the sector, while some were sceptical with the reasons given by Osman to qualify the move.

Shareda President Datuk Susan Wong, among others, hoped the move would not create a situation where developers have to face a higher price and that supply would be more consistent for housing development projects in Sabah.



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