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Builders ask govt to speedily award remaining stimulus package projects

KUALA LUMPUR: The Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) has called on the government to speedily award the remaining stimulus package projects and implement 10th Malaysia Plan projects.

"This is also for continuous and sustainable growth of the construction industry," said MBAM president Kwan Foh Kwai said in a statement today in response to Bank Negara Malaysia's second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) report.

On Wednesday, Aug 18, Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz announced that Malaysia posted a strong growth of 8.9% in the second quarter of 2010 compared with 10.1% in the first quarter.

She attributed the strong growth as driven by sustained expansion in domestic demand and robust growth in external demand.

Kwan said in the first quarter of 2010, the Malaysian construction sector grew by 8.5% while in the second quarter of 2010, it moderated to 4.1%.

This, he said, was a cause for concern as the total value of new construction projects awarded had been declining in the last four quarters.

"With the transition period from 9th Malaysia Plan to 10th Malaysia Plan which will only be launched in October of this year, we expect these new projects to only start contributing to the economy maybe one year later," Kwan said.

"This added to the slow implementation of Public Private Partnership projects may result in a further reduction in construction GDP next year," he said.

According to MBAM, there is concern that the government's target of average five to six% growth in the GDP for the next five years may not be achievable.

Kwan said with lower number of projects for contractors, competition would be greater, adding more pressure for smaller contractors to sustain their business.

"MBAM also hopes that in the 10th Malaysia Plan, the government will review and scrutinise future policies and procedures to ensure that these procedures or policies will help promote the ease of doing business," he said.

Kwan said this was also to minimise unpredictability in business and economic terms and ensure a sustainable economy though transparent policies and expeditious implementations.

"This is particularly so as the private sector is expected to be the key drivers of growth," he said.  

According to MBAM, a booming real estate and housing market will bring jobs to all the over 120 related businesses from small contractors to manufacturers and suppliers.

The association also called for consistency and transparency in terms of policies and incentives to lower the cost of doing business in Malaysia.

"This will help to attract both foreign and domestic investments to make the 10th Malaysia Plan and Vision 2020 a success," Kwan said. — Bernama
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