KUALA LUMPUR (May 22): It is time for both the government and the private sector to go ahead to make industrialised building system (IBS) mandatory for adoption, with a deadline in mind instead of postponing it once again, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said.

"Since Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia (Rehda) has been in talks with the government on added incentives for developers who voluntarily adopt IBS, I do not see why Rehda cannot take this dialogue further on making IBS mandatory within three years. We can make this happen, for the good of the people and the country," Abdul Rahman said in a statement on Friday.

He said like many other crucial policy shifts, there will be many challenges ahead.

"For a technology that has been advocated by the government for close to two decades, the adoption rate has remained low. The industry players will still be resistant to change as long as foreign labour is readily available at a low cost," he noted.

Abdul Rahman was responding to a report by The Edge Financial Daily on Thursday which quoted Rehda Institute chairman Datuk Jeffrey Ng Tiong Lip as saying that the government should engage in dialogue with property developers before the adoption of IBS is made mandatory for all players in the construction industry.

On Tuesday, Abdul Rahman reportedly said he planned to propose this to the Cabinet with the hope that it would be implemented in the next three years.

"I understand there are some contentions on whether IBS can indeed reduce property prices. Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive Datuk Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid mentioned in April last year that IBS will not provide much impact on property prices as there are many other factors affecting them such as land valuation, supply and demand.

"However, most industry players agreed that the adoption of IBS could slash construction period and labour cost by as much as 50% and ultimately reduce dependency on foreign labour and ensure a safe and clean construction environment," said Abdul Rahman.

He also highlighted that IBS is no longer a new issue in Malaysia.

"As a matter of fact, IBS Strategic Plan was published by the CIDB way back in 1999 after the formation of IBS steering committee. The first roadmap known as IBS Roadmap 2003-2010 was approved by the Cabinet in 2003. Since then, we have had IBS Roadmap 2011-2015 and Construction Industry Transformation Programme 2016-2020.

"CIDB Malaysia as the government agency in charge of IBS also set up a one-stop reference centre for IBS that began operation since January 2007. In a bid to show exemplary leadership, the Treasury issued a circular in 2005 that required all government projects to have at least 50% IBS content. A new circular was issued in October 2008 that mandated 70% IBS Score for all government projects," Abdul Rahman noted. — theedgemarkets.com

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