Second Hand Dealers Act can minimise building material, metal theft - Abang Johari

KUCHING, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- State Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg is confident that the rampant theft of building materials in housing areas and government infrastructure projects will be minimized once the implementation of the Second Hand Dealers Act 1946 in Sarawak comes into force.

He said there must be cooperation between the enforcement agencies, including the police and local authority, in imposing the provisions under the act, which has been extended to Sarawak on July 12 last year, aimed at curbing theft of cable and metal drain covers that incurred millions in losses.

"We have to find out the main reason for such theft but if there are supply and demand, definitely, it becomes a business venture," he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house here today.

Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani had recently said that police were being held back in their fight against rampant metal theft as the act, which would give the police the authority to issue licence to scrap yard owners, had yet to be approved by the state cabinet.

However, Abang Johari said the police and state government were looking into the matter with a view to expedite its implementation.

Under the Second Hand Dealers Act 1946, buyers must record the full particulars of sellers in every transaction made at the scrap yard.

The regulation is expected to effectively deter thieves of metal, building materials, tools and cars as their avenue to sell stolen goods will be scrutinized by the authorities.

Currently, a lot of housing developers faced problems as their building materials are stolen, he said, adding that rampant theft also occurred at some of the government infrastructure projects and metal drain covers installed by local councils, said Abang Johari.