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Monday, July 19, 2010

BN’s real interest beneath the sand issue

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By Rahmah Ghazali

SHAH ALAM: There apparently is more than meets the eye in Barisan Nasional’s attacks on the Selangor government over the sand-mining issue.

There may be large reserves of tin underneath the sand and BN does not want them discovered while Selangor is under Pakatan Rakyat’s rule, according to a memorandum submitted to the state government by the Sand Mining Operators and Contractors Action Committee, which represents sand-related businesses registered with the state-owned Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd.

The memorandum, signed by the committee’s chairman, Raja Kamaruddin Raja Abdul Wahid, urged the state not to give in to BN’s demands.

Umno leaders last week demanded that the state sack the directors of Kumpulan Semesta, arguing that they had to take responsibility for illegal sand mining, which they said was rampant in the state.

Raja Kamaruddin said his group was not surprised that state opposition leader Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was trying to “act the hero” in the issue.

He said the former menteri besar had failed to act on former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s suggestion that the state explore the potential of tin mining.

“They are scared that we might mine deeper and find tin underneath, for this will only make Selangor richer,” he said.

“What frightens us the most is that they are asking the state to cancel operating permits for state-owned land. This shows that they are trying to stop development in the state.”

Under BN's tenure...

Raja Kamaruddin also alleged that illegal sand mining was prevalent when Khir was menteri besar.

“We are not stupid and blind,” he said.

“Thousands of lorry drivers can bear witness that the illegal activities happened during BN’s tenure.”

Yaakob Sapari, the state executive councillor who holds the Natural Resources and Entrepreneurial Development portfolio, received the 11-point memorandum on behalf of the government.

About 100 people—contractors, Pakatan supporters and state officials turned up to witness the submission of the memorandum.

Yaakob said: “The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has not found any evidence of corruption in the state government despite having investigated my aide.”

He was referring to Hussein Ahmad, whom the commission’s officers interrogated early this year.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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