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Construction companies should leverage on strength, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 14): Construction companies should identify strategic areas and leverage on their strength to seize opportunities in the industry worldwide, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said Malaysian construction companies have acquired expertise over the years and maintained their cost competitiveness which could be marketed and deployed anywhere.

"I believe the time is right for Malaysian companies to venture beyond our shores to seek avenue for collaboration with international players.

"I hope the strong network and working relations, established at this international conference, will lead to mutual benefits in the foreseeable future," he said when opening the International Construction Week 2012 here on Tuesday.

Najib said local construction players have been very aggressive in marketing their services to China and India, Asia's economic giants.

The prime minister said as of now, Malaysian companies have secured 87 projects in India valued at RM5.5 billion and 71 projects in China worth RM15 billion.

"While we are developing domestic opportunities to generate growth in our economy, we must not lose sight of similar opportunities internationally," he said.

Najib also urged industry players to move towards greater mechanisation and automation driven by information, communication and technology which has the twin effect of increasing productivity and reducing labour requirements.

He said efforts to shed traditional dependency on labour and focus on alternative production inputs could enhance the companies' chances of penetrating global markets.

"The construction industry must also go green," he said, adding that industry players must respond adequately to global consumer demand for everything greener and healthier.

On industry outlook, Najib said the construction sector was expected to grow at a healthy seven per cent and provide positive spillover effect to the manufacturing and other ancillary industries.

He said this growth would be driven by the acceleration of Tenth Malaysia Plan projects, various Economic Transformation Programme projects and the construction of affordable housing targeted at the lower income groups and first-time home buyers. — Bernama

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