Healthy year for construction industry - MBAM

KUALA LUMPUR: It would be a healthy year for the construction industry as projects awarded under the RM60 billion second stimulus package are expected to start in the next two quarters.

Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) presdient Datuk Ng kee Leen said on Tuesday May 25 that among the projects are the RM2 billion new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) and the RM3 billion LRT extensions (two lines) in the Klang Valley.

"These projects will support the construction industry for the next two quarters. After that, we will see how the 10th Malaysia Plan (is working) as the effects will be seen by year end and next year," Ng said after the launch of MBAM Annual Safety Conference 2010. The event was officiated by Deputy Minister of Human Resources Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan.

The construction sector saw a growth of 8.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year. On the 10th Malaysia Plan, which is set to be launched on June 10, Ng said it should be positive with many projects planned especially with the government's focus on public private investments.

"These partnerships will work well and the results will be encouraging," he said.

He added that MBAM also had a dialogue with the Public Private Partnership Unit (3PU) to draw up incentives that would encourage local and foreign investments in construction sector.

The unit which comes under the Prime Minister's Department, is the core agency responsible for coordinating the privatisation and public-private partnership (PPP) projects, and which can be given injection from the
facilitation fund.

Ng said MBAM has also suggested many measures to the government in order to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the construction industry.

Among them are upgrading workers skills, importing skilled foreign workers as well as mechanisation of the construction industry by relooking at building new heavy machinery equipment.

"Although there has been some improvements in the import of machineries and equipment but the duty is still high and is hoped that the International Trade and Industry Ministry will review the duty rates," Ng said.

He said this was needed to encourage more players to use new equipment which are efficient, environment friendly and with better productivity and more safety features.

Import duties and sales on heavy construction equipment was zero per cent in October 1995 with the exception of cranes, oil drilling module and hoists. However, the duties were raised ranging from 10 to 50 per cent and sales tax from five to 10 per cent from October 1997.

Ng said MBAM will be also meeting the Asean Contractors Association in Singapore next month to discuss the standard of foreign workers in the region due to the free flow of workers by 2015 under the Asean Free Trade Area. -- Bernama
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