No shortage of cement if Sarawak gov’t green-lights resumption of construction activities: CMS

Datuk Isaac Lugun
CMS Group managing director Datuk Isaac Lugun

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, May 2: Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMS) has assured consumers in the state that it has enough stock of cement once the government allows the construction industry to resume.

CMS Group managing director Datuk Isaac Lugun said that currently, it is still waiting for the response from the Sarawak government’s decision whether the construction industry could restart amid the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) triggered by Covid-19 outbreak.

“We understand that the state is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation before making a decision which we must respect. At the end of the day, we will pander to the larger interest of the state, a call which only the state government can make.

“At the same time, I would like to assure that we have adequate stock across the state to meet the initial two weeks demand while we ramp up the operations of our three plants: two in Kuching and one in Bintulu. We also have ample stock in our storage terminals in Sibu and Miri,” Isaac told DayakDaily today.

He stated that there was no issue of cement shortage in Sarawak due to the MCO which has caused the entire construction industry to go into lock-down mode.

Isaac was commenting on the concerns by the local construction industry that there had been a shortage of cement in the last two weeks.

“We are concerned about the shortage of cement in the market especially when we are preparing for the lifting of MCO soon,” said Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Sim Kiang Chiok.

Besides cement, Sim also expressed his concern that there was also shortage of other construction materials such as sand and gravel.

On a related issue, Isaac also highlighted CMS’ predicament and concern if the MCO is prolonged.

“An inordinately prolonged MCO could affect the quality of cement in our silos and terminals across the state. We are monitoring this very closely and taking steps to enhance storage conditions,” he said.

Isaac explained that CMS had received approval from MITI on April 17, 2020 to commence its cement operations under strict conditions including a reduced workforce of only 50 per cent and Covid-19 tests for all employees returning to work.

“We subsequently wrote to the state government for its endorsement and now we are waiting for its response,” he said.

On a related issue, Isaac revealed that CMS’ annual production capacity for cement is 2.75 million tonnes per year compared to Sarawak’s demand for is hovering around 1.7 million tonnes per year.

“Therefore, we have a huge spare capacity which enables us to increase production if there’s a need to do so,” added Isaac. —DayakDaily