Friday, November 27, 2020

Company threatens to sue portal over 10-year mining lease renewal

KL Larut, headed by businessman Oms Thiagarajan, says its reputation 'gravely injured' by the report.

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A company involved in mineral mining in Selangor has accused MalaysiaNow of making false and malicious claims in a report revealing a 10-year renewal granted to it to carry out mining activities on two plots of government land.

“It has caused our client considerable distress and embarrassment and our client has been gravely injured in its reputation and has been and brought into public odium, contempt and ridicule,” lawyers for KL Larut Sdn Bhd said in a letter demanding apology and compensation from the news portal.

The company, whose chairman is Klang-based businessman Thiagarajan Pavadai, also threatened the portal with legal proceedings and warned it from repeating the “allegations”.

Thiagarajan, 66, better known as Oms Thiagarajan, is known for his close ties with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, and has often been in the news related to Indian community issues.

On Nov 7, MalaysiaNow reported that the Selangor government bypassed its own state mining firm Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd when it approved the application from KL Larut to renew its lease on two lands measuring over 1,000 acres in Kuala Selangor.

Checks revealed that the decision breached a 2015 circular issued by the state’s director of land and minerals, which stated that all mining licences on state land must be done through open tender.

The report also quoted an industry source as saying that the two plots of land, measuring about 300 and 748 acres each, could rake in as much as 300,000 metric tonnes of sand and minerals every month with a market price of over RM5 million.

On Nov 8, Selangor assemblyman Haniza Talha demanded MB Amirudin Shari to explain the renewal granted to KL Larut.

She said the decision to extend the mining lease for KL Larut Sdn Bhd to 2030 was a violation of guidelines on mineral mining in Selangor.

“The land belongs to the government and should have been returned to the government once the 10-year lease ended, instead of it being renewed for another 10 years,” she said.

Sand mining in Selangor is a multi-million ringgit business, but illegal sites caused millions of ringgit in lost revenues to the state, forcing it to consolidate all mining activities under Kumpulan Semesta, a company under Menteri Besar Selangor Inc headed by the MB himself.

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