KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has yet to receive an official report on the objections by villagers over a silica sand mining project in the northern Kudat district, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
Hajiji said he will instruct either the Sabah Lands and Surveys Department or Kudat district office to submit the report over the matter.
“(We) have yet to receive the report over the objections (but) we will check about the discontent voiced by the villagers,” he said when met after an event here on Thursday (Sept 8).
He explained that the land on which the sand mining was carried out was private property after it was sold to the company implementing the said project.
“So, I will ask for a report from either the Lands and Surveys director or the Kudat district office. We will see how we can resolve the matter,” he added.
Pressed on whether the government will intervene and put a halt to the project, Hajiji said he will need to see the detailed report over the concerns raised by the villagers first.
“We will have to see first. All we hear now (about the project’s effect) are coming from social media.
“But the official report has yet to reach me. So, we will see what appropriate action can be taken by us,” he said.
Last month, residents from the five villages in Kudat held a small protest to voice their concerns that the silica sand mining and processing project will bring environmental harm to the idyllic Pantai Bangau as well as the surroundings near their villages.
The residents from Kampung Bangau, Andab Bangau, Andab Darat, Kimihang and Longgom Kecil had urged the Sabah government to intervene and put a stop to the project, which was run by a Chinese-owned company.
Mohd Mazza Azat, a member of the action committee formed to object to the project, said the villagers depended on the beach and sea for their income as many of them were fishermen.
He said the area was also a valued tourist destination for Kudat, located some 130km from the capital of Kota Kinabalu, as it was considered a hidden beach.
On June 18, the action committee submitted a letter to the Chief Minister’s Department voicing objections to the project.
Mazza had said the department had taken note of the letter and subsequently wrote to the state Industrial Development Ministry on June 23, asking it to take action.
When contacted then, Sabah Industrial Development Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam briefly said his ministry will look into the matter.
An online petition “Save Bangau Beach Kudat” that was launched on change.org has so far garnered more than 8,000 signatures.