Future at stake for scrap metal dealers
Scrap metal dealers in the State have again appealed to the State Government to rethink its decision to appoint a ‘sole exporter’ to take full control of their business. Reiterating such appeal on their behalf was Eddie Tan, the Secretary General of the newly-registered Sabah Scrap Metals Recycle Association, after a group of its members failed to have their trading licence renewed at the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) yesterday. In a letter issued by the DBKK dated 22 October, 2008, copies of which were given to them, they were informed that with effect from 1 Nov, 2008, all the local authorities in the State are not allowed to issue new licence or allow for renewal of the existing licences for scrap metal business in the State, citing a decision of the State Cabinet made on August 6, 2008. A copy of the letter issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) dated 26 September, 2008 was also attached for their reference, in which it stated that the State Cabinet had on August 6 decided to appoint Superpanel Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB), as the ‘sole exporter’ of scrap metal for Sabah, as one way of addressing the rampant metal theft in the State at one stage. “We wish to again appeal to the State Government to rethink the decision of appointing Superpanel Sdn Bhd as the ‘sole ecporter’ for scrap metal business in the State as it is monopolistic in nature, against the spirit of free trade and will eventually force all of us out of business,” Eddie reiterated. He also censured the move as inconsiderate, likening it to the act of “rubbing salt into one’s injuries”. He lamented that as it is now, their business alredy suffered tremendously in the wake of the global financial crisis, citing that prices of recyclable materials have plunged by 60 percent with the price of scrap metal suffered a steep plunge from RM1,400 per metric ton to below RM500. “The time is so bad now that even some ofour major buyers in Peninsular Malaysia and overseas had decided to cease operations. A majority of us are now barely making ends meet to cover for our daily expenses besides liabilities, including bank loans. If we wind up our business, not only our own family will be affected but also that of our workers,” he further lamented. Eddie also questioned the manner the move was implemented without a proper and thoroughconsultation with them, except for a sketchy-and- dubious briefmg session organised by the Permanent Secretary of the MLGH last April. “They have not even given us the detailed structure of the company (Super Panel Sdn Bhd) as well as the price structure and etc, and yet they want us to stop our business by end of this month. This is absolutely inconsiderate and unfair to us,” he pointed out.