KUALA LUMPUR: Cement manufacturer Lafarge Malaysia Bhd plans to set up a construction development laboratory by year-end to produce better building solutions, in tandem with the growing local population.
The company estimated that Malaysia’s population will hit 35 million by 2020, 70% of which is expected to be concentrated in urban areas.
President and CEO Bradley Mulroney said the laboratory will focus on research and develop products and solutions that Malaysia needs for the construction industry.
“With a big part of the population dominating the urban areas and cost of living tremendously high, we do not want the people, especially the younger generation, to look for low-cost houses,” he told Bernama.
Mulroney said Malaysia faced its biggest challenge in offering affordable prices for housing units, especially in the urban areas.
He said most of the units were currently sold at high prices.
Mulroney said some developers took advantage of the situation by constructing buildings using cheap products which Lafarge will not condone.
As one of the key industry players, the company wants to come up with solutions that can help reduce the cost of construction and at the same time emphasise on quality.
“It is part of the lab’s specialisation. We will undertake a lot of experiments and testings on different types of industrialised building systems,” he said.
He said the company, which anticipates between 4% and 5% market growth per annum, aims to maintain its capacity to serve projects like the klia2 and MRT.
“We want to continue growing and developing our presence across Malaysia for the next 60 years,” said Mulroney, adding that the company had just celebrated its 60th anniversary here.
Besides cement, the French company’s businesses also include ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and other related materials, he said.
At present, the company has four cement plants in Rawang (Selangor), Kanthan (Perak), Langkawi (Kedah) and Pasir Gudang (Johor).
The company’s products are exported to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia as well as Myanmar. — Bernama
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 14, 2013.
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