PETALING JAYA (Oct 29): The badly battered construction industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown needed strong support from Budget 2022, hence Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) called for government’s support to offer further assistance for the industry players to speed up the recovery process.

MBAM secretary-general Datuk Seri Eric Kuan Khian Leng (pictured) said the announcement of Budget 2022 by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul today was insufficient to support the construction industry.

“Generally, MBAM was expecting a more uplifting 2022 Budget announcement for the construction industry. Disappointingly, there was no announcement of new mega infrastructure to prime the revival of the Malaysian construction industry,” he said in a post-budget feedback statement today.

Instead, the focus area for the industry based on the announcement was more towards the smaller scale projects that enhance infrastructures of public use, benefitting the G1 to G4 contractors where these new projects include:

  1. Building of eight new blocks for special education, among them at SMK Tuanku Lailatul Shahreen in Perlis and SMK Agama Alor Gajah in Melaka;
  2. RM 1.5 billion to continue housing projects for the low-income group;
  3. RM1.5 billion to build a 519km rural road that will directly benefit more than 130,000 residents; and,
  4. RM107 million to install 7,000 units of street lights in villages, maintenance of more than 500,000 units of village street lights and upgrading of 20 dilapidated bridges as well as preliminary works for 30 new bridges.

Meanwhile, an allocation of RM3.5 billion has been dedicated for national infrastructure development projects such as Pan Borneo Highway and Central Spine Road.

Therefore, MBAM appeals to the government to provide more assistance for the construction industry to revive and sustain the construction sector.

Additionally, the association lauded the government initiative of upskilling local talents through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme with an allocation of RM6.6 billion.

“As the Malaysian construction industry is still over-dependent on unskilled foreign labour, we really hope that this initiative will prepare the industry with more local talent to overcome the shortage of foreign workers.

This however, will take a long time, while the industry is in need of new foreign workers now to help with the recovery and hope that the process to bring them in will be much faster,” added Kuan.

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