High demand, shipping raw materials from peninsula why Sarawak short of cement, says Domestic Trade Ministry

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KUCHING, Nov 14 — The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs today explained the shortage of cement in Sarawak, attributing it to the huge demand in various construction projects in the state.

Its state director Datuk Stanley Tan acknowledged the current shortage throughout Sarawak and noted that many major projects that had been disrupted by the nationwide movement control orders (MCO) since the Covid-19 pandemic last year were finally resuming.

“The demand for cement also increased due the opening of nearly all economic sectors especially involving construction activities after a long period of the movement control order due to Covid-19 was lifted,” he said when asked by Malay Mail.

He listed the Pan Borneo Highway and Baleh dam as examples.

Tan added that part of the shortage was attributed to the limited number of ships that could cross the South China Sea with the raw materials for cement.

“This shortage happens because most of the raw materials for making cement are imported from Peninsular Malaysia or foreign countries and brought over to Sarawak by sea vessels.

“Recently there are problems where there are a limited number of vessels which are able to carry these raw materials to Sarawak due to an increase in demand for vessel services elsewhere,” he explained.

He said the ministry will work closely with cement manufacturer CMS Sdn Bhd, the sole cement producer in Sarawak, to overcome this cement shortage problem.

He said the vessels carrying and delivering such raw material for producing cement have been arranged and will arrive soon and hopes this cement shortage problem will end soon by next month.

Tan advised all cement wholesalers and retailers not to hike the cement price unnecessarily, reminding them that cement is a control item under Control of Supply Act 1961.

“Anyone who unnecessarily hikes the cement price, action also can be taken against them under the Price Control and Anti Profiteering Act 2011,” he said.

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