Malaysia bans all sea sand exports on environmental concern

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 4): Malaysia has banned all exports of sea sand to any country since last year due to environmental concerns, said a cabinet minister.

The ban won’t affect ties with Singapore as it isn’t related to the city-state’s reclamation efforts, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar told reporters on Thursday. Malaysia’s sea sand will be limited for domestic use only, he said.

Sand is a key resource for neighbouring Singapore, a tiny island nation that has expanded its physical size by reclamation. Over the years, the country’s biggest suppliers of the resource, including Indonesia and Cambodia, have already halted exports to limit environmental damage.

The recent ban by Malaysia may affect Singapore’s plan to reclaim land to mitigate the impact of climate change, with almost one-third of the country resting just five meters above sea level.

Exports of river sand from Malaysia would require approval from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Xavier said.