Monday 2 April 2012

End cement monopoly in state, Taib urged

DAP wants the chief minister to allow other suppliers apart from his family-run CMS to supply cement in the state.

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP has called on Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to terminate the monopoly on the supply of cement by his family’s CMS (Cahaya Mata Sarawak) by allowing other cement suppliers to come into Sarawak.

“Taib should terminate the monopoly by CMS on cement supply in Sarawak and allow other suppliers to come in as this will help stabilise the supply of cement in the state,” DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said.
“Currently, the cement supply is not consistent not only in Kuching but also in other places in the state. It is seriously affecting the construction industry.

“The reason is that there is only one cement supplier in the state. When something goes wrong with the supplier, the whole industry is affected,” said Chong, the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

The DAP leader, who is also the Bandar Kuching MP, was commenting on the severe shortage of cement in the state.

What worried those in the construction industry more is that with the building of more dams in the state, a lot of cement will be needed.

Sarawak plans to build 12 more dams after it has built Batang Ai, Bakun and Bengoh dams.

In addition, much cement will be used for the construction of roads leading to the dam sites apart from the construction of other infrastructure.

“It is expected that the supply of cement will be insufficient to meet the demands of the construction industry.
“It is high time the government opened up the cement industry by allowing other suppliers to come in and not to allow monopoly on its supply in Sarawak,” he said.

“As chief minister, Taib should put the interests of the people and the state above the interest of his family’s business by terminating the monopoly of cement supply by CMS.

“He should allow more cement suppliers to operate in Sarawak,” Chong added.

Instrumental role

CMS Cement Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of CMS, is the state’s sole cement manufacturer in Sarawak.
Owned by Taib’s family members, it has two plants – one in Kuching and the other in Bintulu, producing a total annual production capacity of 1.75 million tonnes.

Recently, Taib described CMS as “Sarawak’s partner of progress” playing an instrumental role in Sarawak’s infrastructural development since 1978.

“As Sarawak’s largest private sector development group, CMS has helped the state undergo rapid transformation over the last 34 years from an under-developed state to one whose development and living standards are comparable to the best in Malaysia,” Taib said.

He said that CMS’ dynamic businesses had set an example for other companies in Sarawak to take the lead in spreading the wealth of the state among its own people, instead of waiting for big players from elsewhere to develop the state’s potential and resources.

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