KOTA ISKANDAR, Aug 12 — The Johor government should establish a subsidiary to manage sand mining and sale in the state, Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A Rahim said at the legislative assembly here today.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) state lawmaker, who is known for championing environmental issues, said the sale of uncontrolled and illegally mined sand and minerals was not only hurting Johor financially, but would also cause irreparable harm to nature and its residents’ health.
“In Johor, there are many types of sand mining activities in Johor such as top soil, white soil, sea sand, kaolin, river sand, stones and also bauxite, that will bring benefit to the state government if managed properly.
“However, if left unchecked, lorries carrying the sand without permit and also over-mining sand have caused losses to the state government,” he said.
Khairuddin said he had recently received a complaint at Tenggaroh 13 in Mersing, where sand mining activities were conducted without a licence from the district land office and Land and Mines Office (PTG).
He said the land belongs to the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and the illegal movement of sand in the area at night is something that is not right.
“I request for an investigation whether by PTG or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the matter,” he said.
Khairuddin said illegal and unchecked river sand mining activities damages the river basin and the environment.
“The sand mining uses dredges and as a result, artificial holes are created and will merged from one another causing the river flow to be stretched,” he said, adding that widespread sand mining may also leave harmful by-products such as arsenic that are harmful.
Khairuddin said the state’s PTG needs to be strengthened by adding enforcement officers on a regular basis.
“It is also recommended that the government establish a subsidiary to manage sand production in the state,” he said.
The PH backbencher also wants the state government to regulate bauxite mining, its transportation and storage in the state.
“The Minyak Beku area in Batu Pahat which is a tourist destination was recently hit by bauxite pollution.
“The red dust caused by bauxite transportation needs to be strictly enforced as not to harm the health of the villagers there,” he said.