“Pro-Malaysia, Not Anti-Singapore”
In a statement released to the press, Malaysian minister Xavier Jayakumar of the Land and Natural Resources clarified that the ban wasn’t placed to purposefully cripple down Singapore’s expansion operation.
An earlier report from Reuters said that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who recently won last year’s election, was upset that the country’s resources was being used by its neighbour to increase its territory.
As further pointed out by unnamed sources, Mahathir was also concerned on the illegal activities committed by corrupt Malaysian officials.
It was found out from the report that the ban was actually placed earlier last year and was never made public for possible diplomatic tensions that it could cause.
The PM’s press secretary, Endie Shazlie Akbar, did confirm that the new policy was pushed in 2018 but not exactly because the PM was mad over Singapore’s expansion plans.
Jayakumar later said that the ban came due to the growing environmental concerns and not exactly related to Singapore’s reclamation efforts.
The minister did say that while river sand is still being exported to Singapore, sea sand will now be limited for domestic use only.
In relation to political issues, Jayakumar said that the export won’t affect the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore.
“I don’t think there is any problem in our relationship with any countries as far as this business is concerned,” the minister said.