"...The fact is that during Dr. Mahathir’s time, our economy grew as a consequence of our exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, timber, forest products etc. which we sold to the highest bidder in the market. In turn Malaysia imported natural resource products from other countries. This trade and international exchange is not only normal. It is also desirable and in the interests of all nations..."
Of course, we need to ensure that the exploitation of our sand and other resources is undertaken responsibly and transparently. This means a system of open tender with the federal and state governments opening their books to the public on the licenses given out to quarries, dredging companies, timber companies, etc.; the licence fees collected; the duration of the licence; winning and unsuccessful bidders; and other key information.
All of this is missing right now in the current system of sand licences and needs to be corrected. I recommend that this be done by the Pakatan Rakyat states so that they leave behind a legacy of transparency and accountability in this important sector.
But let us not forget that the corrupt system of negotiated and closed tender and lack of transparency and accountability emerged as standard operating procedures during Dr. Mahathir’s rule. If anyone is to be blamed for the mismanagement and abuse in the exploitation of our natural resources, the finger of blame must be pointed at our country’s present leaders."...
"Sand Sales As Part of a Win Win Situation
About 30 years ago, Mudajaya Construction, the company I founded, was given the contract to fill up the Kelantan Medical University site with sand from Sungei Kelantan. It is a well-known fact that Kota Bahru and other towns upstream are flooded because Sungei Kelantan is clogged up with sand. Hence the contract was akin to killing two birds with one stone.
Mudajaya was also given the contract to dredge sand from Sungei Tiram in Johore for export to Singapore. The sand from the river was used to create the beach at Sentosa Resort in Singapore. In the process we not only cleared our Malaysian river and solved its flooding problem but we also generated jobs and income from the revenue received from Singapore. This is a win-win situation for our two nations.
I am now no longer associated with Mudajaya nor have I any business interest in the construction industry. However I will support exploitation of our sand resources subject to the caveats I have set out earlier. If our country can sell 50 million cu m. of sand to Singapore at Rm 50 per cu m. Singapore will pay us Rm 2,500 million which can help fill the shortfall in Government coffers. At the same time, if properly planned, the dredging can eliminate the flooding for us.
What is wrong with this business transaction if it is carried out properly and with full transparency and accountability?"...