Scrap metal dealers want clarification on company Ministry urged to give proper dealing guidelines
The Sabah Scrap Metals Recycle Association (SSMRA) has taken the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) to task for failing to provide detailed information on Superpanel Sdn Bhd and clear transaction guidelines with the company.
Superpanel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (SHTDA), has been appointed as the ‘sole exporter’ of scrap metals and recyclables in Sabah, following a State Cabinet decision on Aug 6, 2008 to resolve rampant metal thefts in the State.
A directive was subsequently issued to all local authorities on Sept 26 instructing them to stop renewing existing trading licences or issue new ones to scrap metal dealers.
All such applications must first be registered with and approved by Superpanel effective Nov 1 this year.
“But with only one day left before the Nov 1 deadline for the implementation of the said policy, the Ministry concerned hasn’t even bothered to give us proper guidelines as to how we should deal with Superpanel. And yet the Ministry has proceeded to stop the renewal of our trading licences,” lamented. SSMRA President Jennifer Hiew here yesterday.
She noted that since the Ministry’s directive on Oct 22, most of the Association’s 46 members across the State have been forced to temporarily cease their operations.
During the Oct 28 meeting between the Association and Superpanel that was arranged by City Hall Director-General Datuk Dr Chua Kim Hing, the representative from Superpanel was unable to provide any detailed information on the company’s set-up and its operational procedures.
The representative also stated that the company was still waiting for instructions from the Minister concerned on how to deal with scrap metal dealers, said Jennifer.
She said such a move was ‘monopolistic’ in nature and unfair to the scrap metal dealers.
“By right, in this trying time of economic crisis and depression, like what the other Governments elsewhere in the world are doing, our Government too should strive to help legitimate businesses like ours, instead of trying to strangle us alive at the expense of the privileged few,” she said.
Jennifer said the move could have far- reaching implications on the society as a whole, as the majority of those involved in the trade are the poor and underprivileged.
Besides, many of the Association members are currently still servicing their bank loans that were taken to finance their operations, she added.
She also contended that the reasons given by the Ministry, that the move was aimed at stopping the rampant metal thefts in the State, was too simplistic, do not hold water and are questionable to a large extent.
“Can the said company guarantee that there will be no more metal theft after it comes into operation?” she asked.