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Senator moots setting up agency or body to manage rare earth issues, prevent exploitation in Malaysia

Publish date: Thu, 21 Sep 2023, 09:18 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — A member of the Dewan Negara suggested today that the government set up an agency, body or government-linked company (GLC) to supervise and manage all rare earth related issues in the country.

Senator Datuk Mohd Hisamudin Yahaya said the government could coordinate the resource and its sale as well as avoid conflicts of interest between state governments that have such resources and the federal government.

“The establishment of such an entity is to control the price and ensure that the country’s resources do not simply disappear. In other words, the state government can mine (rare earth) bit it should be sold to the government.

“We can follow the example of Petronas, with which the government can supervise the sale of petroleum products even though the resources are located in different states in Malaysia,” he said when debating the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review at the Dewan Negara today.

Mohd Hisamudin said based on studies by the Geoscience and Minerals Department, rare earth deposits can usually be found in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.

The senator representing Putrajaya was also sure that the entity could prevent price exploitation, illegal exports and rare earth theft, and guarantee maximum profits and returns for the country.

Meanwhile, Senator Datuk Dr Azhar Ahmad praised Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir in expanding Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with other countries, including the reopening of several foreign offices abroad.

He said Zambry’s efforts were noteworthy as they had re-established diplomatic relations with several countries.

“Alhamdulillah, I heard news of many offices reopening, especially in the Middle East, East Asia and Latin America.

“He does speak and work more abroad and this is good for a Foreign Minister as his tasks are to restore and strengthen diplomatic relations,” he said, adding that the country could attract more foreign investments through Zambry’s efforts. — Bernama

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