MBAM: Skilled labour force crucial for 10MP, NEM success

KUALA LUMPUR: Sufficient human capital — particularly a skilled labour force — is crucial to the success of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) and the New Economic Model (NEM).

According to Kwan Foh Kwai, president of the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), the local construction industry should aim for a higher level of skilled workers as well as wider utilisation of the Industrialised Building Systems (IBS) similar to countries such as Australia and Singapore. IBS is a construction process that utilises products, techniques, components and building systems which involve prefabricated components and on-site installation.

"IBS in the long term would not be more expensive. The initial investment of IBS are factories and machineries, and once everything is in place, the construction cost will be lower," Kwan told after the opening ceremony of the Third Malaysian Construction Summit 2010 on Tuesday, Nov 2.

Kwan also urged the government to ensure there is sufficient number of skilled construction workers, both local and foreign before considering any changes in the present levy structure.

He does not foresee much resistance from developers when it comes to trimming the industry's reliance on cheap foreign labour and switching to higher paid skilled workers.

"Most of us in the property development and construction industries are looking at the sustainability of the business. As we are moving towards a high income nation, productivity will be higher in the long run if we were to employ more skilled workers, which will translate into lower cost as well, said Kwan.
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