Anwar should step in to clear legal questions over Tawau gold mining, says PKR leader

KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should step in to resolve an apparent conflict over state and federal laws in the controversial gold mining operations in Tawau.

Sabah PKR leader Sazalye Donol Abdullah said the Prime Minister's intervention was necessary as the controversial mining operations were in conflict with the federal laws as the ultimate authority over mineral mining.

He said it was clear that the continuing gold mining operations at Bukit Mantri was shrouded with legal questions as the state government seemed to have overridden the federal powers to allow it to continue.

He said despite the federal Mineral and Geo-Science Ministry through the Inspector of Mines issued a stop order on gold mining operations in Nov last year, it continued its operations with the government giving the go-ahead through the Sabah Mining Ordinance 1960.

"Mining operations come under the Federal List and as such it is the authority over the mining operation," said Sazalye, who was a member of the Sabah PKR leadership committee and Kota Marudu division chairman.

Assistant Minister to Chief Minister Datuk Abdin Madingkir had recently said that the mining operations were legal as the state mining ordinance allowed for the director of the Lands and Survey Department Datuk Bernard Liew to be the Chief Inspector of Mining.

Zazalye said that the issue further raises questions as the country lease land title approved in 2014 for the mining clearly stated that they should get the compliance of the mining scheme issued by the federal Mineral and Go-Science Ministry.

They were also required to obtain the agreement on Environmental Conditions between the project proponent (lessee) with the Sabah Director of Environmental Protection Department, he said.

Sazalye said authorities including environment agencies and graft investigators should take close look at the continuing operations as there seems to be no mining scheme presented to the federal ministry and also if an EIA was done in accordance with the requirements.

Referring to Customs officers releasing four people from the mining company and the return of 110kgs of gold after they were briefly detained by Tawau Customs officials on Feb 6, Sazalye said asked if the company could still carry out gold trading as it they need the federal letter of approval for gold mining.

"As such, the gold should be seized and returned to the state government," he added.

Earlier, State Customs said that the company officials and the gold were returned as they did not contravene or breach any Customs Act or any subsidiary laws under the same act.

The mining issue has remained a controversy with Parti Warisan's Merotai assemblyman Sarifuddin Hata raising the stop work order at last year's state Assembly sitting with the state insisting that the gold mining operations were legal.

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Gold , Mining , Sabah , Sazalye Donol Abdullah , Tawau ,


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