SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia, Singapore’s biggest source for sea sand, has banned the export of the commodity, according to officials in Kuala Lumpur, a move that traders said could complicate the island-state’s ambitious expansion plans on reclaimed land.
Those plans include the development of the Tuas mega port, slated to be the world’s biggest container terminal. Singapore has increased its land area by a quarter since independence in 1965, mostly by using sand to reclaim coastal areas.
Prime - Minister - Mohamad - Mahathir - Power
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir, who came to power in a shock election last year, imposed a ban on all sea sand exports on October 3, two senior government sources with direct knowledge of the decision told Reuters.
The government sources, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Mahathir was upset that Malaysia’s land was being used to increase the size of its wealthier neighbor. He was also concerned corrupt Malaysian officials were benefiting from the secretive business.
Endie - Shazlie - Akbar - Mahathir - Press
Endie Shazlie Akbar, Mahathir’s press secretary, confirmed that the government had put a stop to sand exports last year. However, he denied that it was aimed at curbing Singapore’s expansion plans, saying it was a move to clamp down on illegal sand smuggling.
The ban was never made public because of the potential diplomatic fallout, the sources said. Singapore has not made any public comment on the ban.
Singapore - Malaysia - Part - British-ruled - Malaya
Singapore and Malaysia were part of British-ruled Malaya and became distinct countries in 1965. They often have strained relations due to disputes over territory and shared resources, such as water.
Singapore’s Ministry of National Development, which oversees sand imports, did not directly respond to questions about a ban by Malaysia but said it had multiple sources of sand and was cutting back its use of the commodity.
Sand - Basis - Countries
“Sand is imported on a commercial basis from various countries to...
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