ETP projects to boost construction sector next year

KUALA LUMPUR: Mega projects under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) are expected to boost the construction sector to record 11.5 per cent growth year-on-year in 2013.

Alliance Research Sdn Bhd said a total of 149 projects had been announced with a total committed investments of RM212 billion and were expected to generate gross national income of RM137.6 billion in 2020 and create 410,892 jobs.

“The construction sector will likely benefit the most from the ETP investments, with an expected growth rate of 11.5 per cent in 2013.

“While the construction sector itself constitutes a relatively small 3.6 per cent of total gross domestic product compared with services and manufacturing, the multiplier effects from this sector are high given its linkages to other major sub-sectors of the economy,” it said in a research note.

Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) said the construction jobs would continue to come from projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan, ETP, Entry Point Projects, Greater Kuala Lumpur, Rural Transformation Programme and Urban Tranformation Programme.

MBAM said to ensure the completion of the projects according to schedule, the government and the private sector must work closely together to ensure they were implemented in a timely manner as the costs will increase if they were delayed.

The association also urged the private and public sectors to work closely to remove bottlenecks on the supply side, in particular foreign skilled labour, in order for the sector to remain robust and continue drive the local economy.

It said for the local contractors to stay competitive against the foreign contractors, it was important for them to undertake continuous efforts to upgrade skills and knowledge, which included internationally-recognised accreditation schemes and meeting world class standards.

“As part of a broader capacity-building process, where builders or contractors are concerned, there is a need to comprehensively integrate and more efficiently utilise new construction methods, practices and technologies in delivering high quality work on par or better than the foreign contractors.

“Equally important, our businesses and organisations need to adhere to the highest standards of accountability and integrity which are critical success factors in enhancing confidence of the global markets in the quality, integrity and productivity,” it said.

He said the government could encourage more contractors to go for ‘green’ buildings by considering grants for the development of ‘green’ products and technology in Malaysia apart from concentrating on tax incentives.

Going forward, it said, the problems of the shortage skilled and unskilled workers would weigh on the construction industry.

“At present, there is a critical need to replenish the pool of skilled construction manpower, as the majority of the workers are already ageing.

“It is estimated that 35.1 per cent of local construction personnel would reach the age of 50 and above five years from now.

“The government needs to prepare a long-term strategic plan to address this problem,” it said.

MBAM hoped the government would allow the importation of foreign workers from more source countries in Asean, China and India to meet the increased and sustained demand for construction workers especially for the mass rapid transit and other mega projects.

“The government should also need to seriously consider extending the working permit of skilled foreign workers for more than 10 years.

“Although there is a need to limit the number of foreign workers, the gradual limitation of foreign workers in this country must be balanced with the need to provide sufficient numbers of skilled construction workers so that they can contribute towards the economy,” it said. — Bernama

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