Malaysia: Speed up contract awards for mega projects, govt urged

  • CONSTRUCTION faces a worrying future, said the Master Builders’ Association Malaysia (MBAM), pointing to a lack of jobs as among the factors impacting the sector’s contributions to the national economy.
  • Given this, it is urging the government to speed up the awarding of contracts, especially for big projects like Phase II of the Pan Borneo Highway and East Coast Rail Link.
  • President Foo Chek Lee said many Malaysian contractors have expressed their “hunger” for new jobs as most existing projects will be completed by the middle of 2020.
  • Even if the government is facing financial constraints, he said, “small package” projects can be awarded, with their implementation period extended.
  • He added the concern has been raised mostly by small and medium players, as the “big boys” can more easily secure overseas projects.
  • MBAM is also appealing for Putrajaya to simplify the approval process for foreign workers, saying currently, there are 26 procedures to undergo. In contrast, Singapore has just one step, said Foo.
  • He said this leaves contractors struggling with a worker shortage, and impacts their ability to meet project deadlines. Some applications have been rejected due to minor errors, such as typos, as well as auditing hiccups, he added.
  • On the minimum standard for worker accommodation, he said MBAM members will cooperate with the government and implement the rules. He said the budget will be calculated in the preliminary costs, and this may affect the price tag of end products.
  • However, he said, Putrajaya can lessen the impact by providing a land subsidy, and reducing the percentage of compliance costs and taxes.

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