Chong to state govt: Is importing cement into Sarawak restricted?

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, March 29: Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen is urging the Sarawak government to clarify if it is against the importing of cement from the peninsula.

He said the ministry, through the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC), had sent a Letter of Inquiry to the state government two months ago on this matter but had yet to receive a reply.

“Our Competition Commission is looking into the operation of the (Sarawak cement) industry and the workings of the ecosystem of the whole industry. We know that it’s a monopoly, and it’s a very entrenched monopoly. How to break that monopoly, that is the question.

“But the whole ecosystem is so deeply rooted and entrenched in Sarawak. It’s not as easy as ‘today I want to break that monopoly so I just give out licences to anyone’. Now everyone is free to import cement but whether they will import or not,” said Chong.

He said among the challenges faced in trying to break the monopoly was whether it would be commercially viable, whether there would be any distribution networks available and whether the contractors would buy from them.

“But, so far, from the federal side, we can confirm there’s no regulation to stop the importation of cement from West Malaysia to Sarawak,” said Chong. — DayakDaily