Selling sand to Singapore, still?

Are we still selling sand to Singapore?

We are made to believe that Malaysia banned the selling of sand to Singapore. It became a highly sensitive and heated issue when the “proposal to sell 1 billion cubic metre of sand” was brought into the ‘Scenic Bridge Replacing Johor Causeway’ negotiations tabled in first quarter 2006, which saw the outcry of Malaysians especially Johoreans.

The other reason was the request as a part of the condition for the Scenic Bridge buy in to allow Johor airspace for low flying Singapore Air Force aircrafts. As a result, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi abruptly and unceremoniusly cancelled the ‘Scenic Bridge’, amidst construction already started and the RM 1 billion brand new CIQ complex in Bukit Chagar was nearing completion.

The “Selling of 1 billion cubic metre sand proposal” later was discovered to be a ‘Malaysian proposal’, instead a formal request from the Singaporeans at the negotiations table. As a reaction of the outcry, it was announced that the sale of sand to the island city state was banned.

Today, it seems the situation is a little different. Yesterday, Works Minister Dato’ Shaziman Abu Mansor announced in Johor Bahru that “500 trucks carrying sand passed through the Causeway”. It somewhat caused traffic congestion, on top the usual goods that go to Singapore on road.

NST has the story:

Extra lane at CIQ complex to ease traffic congestion

2009/11/18

 

JOHOR BARU: Contractor Gerbang Perdana will build an extra lane to ease congestion at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex.

Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said the extra lane would be a ramp leading to the new Eastern Dispersal Link on the Johor side, and would be completed in a month.

Shaziman said once the new lane was completed, there would be three lanes for cars to enter Johor Baru, after the Customs checkpoint.

The new lane is among several routes, called medium-term routes, that will be completed by the end of next year.

“We have asked Gerbang Perdana to complete the work earlier as all medium-term routes are supposed to be completed in March 2011.

“The work is 47 per cent complete. The medium-term routes cost RM253 million.”

On complaints of congestion caused by lorries at the Causeway, Shaziman said the problem should be resolved as the cargo checkpoint for lorries in Tanjung Puteri began operating 24 hours since Sunday.

He said the congestion was caused by Singapore-bound lorries that wait near the Tanjung Puteri cargo checkpoint after clearance by Customs.

“Many lorry drivers wait for the right time to enter Singapore. They usually wait for the operation hours (of businesses) to begin at 9am before proceeding. This is one cause for the congestion,” Shaziman said after visiting the CIQ complex and cargo complex for lorries at Tanjung Puteri.

He said 700 lorries travelled from Singapore to Malaysia through the Causeway daily, while the daily number of lorries from Malaysia to Singapore was 1,000. About 500 of the Singapore-bound lorries carry sand.

Shaziman said he would brief the cabinet on Friday on other measures to ease traffic congestion at the CIQ complex.

Among them is a proposal to add another 36 immigration booths to the current 36 at the complex. “PLUS (Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan) Bhd has agreed to this.”

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If there is a ban against the ‘Sale of sand to Singapore’, why is it there are “About 500 of the Singapore-bound lorries carry sand” passing through the Sultan Iskandar Complex, daily?

When was the ban on the ‘sale of land’ to Singapore lifted? Who is responsible to allow this to happen?

It is appalling to learn from the NST report that Works Minister Shaziman is only briefing the Cabinet on the congestion, without discussing the ‘sale  of sand’ via the Causeway that is calculated at one milliion cubic metres per annum.

For the record, we decided to call Dato’ Seri Abdullah “Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ ” starting from the ‘Flip-Flop’ decision to cancel the ‘Scenic Bridge’ project, nine weeks after making a strong statement that the project “Is proceeding as scheduled“. Tengah Air Base, is situated at north west of the island republic which is only a few kilometres of the coast of Kota Iskandar in Nusajaya is the most likely where SAF aircrafts need the Johor airspace for easy clearance. Johoreans at Gelang Patah and Tanjung Piai area have been complaining of these low flying aircrafts for years.

And the msytery of the sale of sand, looms……….

*Updated 730pm

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 12:00  Comments (30)