Construction jobs get govt’s backing

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By BERNAMA

The government remains supportive of construction projects despite global economic uncertainties and Malaysia’s financial constraints, said Works Minister Baru Bian (picture).

Baru said investors’ confidence has to be fostered to ease the investment flow into the country and boost the construction industry.

“The government has decided to encourage and boost the construction (sector) in the country, even though we are in a diluted and constrained financial situation.

“We must try to stimulate the economy by creating demand in the construction sector, particularly in infrastructure projects. We need to encourage and at the same time instil investors confidence into our economy,” he said at the Asean Super 8 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that the ministry is in the middle of tendering packages for the Central Spine Road project, a 421.4km highway project connecting Kelantan and Pahang, which is expected to be completed in 2023.

“There has been an increasing amount of foreign direct investments this year. In fact, it has surpassed last year’s performance. The Pan Borneo (Highway), as you see, is ongoing, and now we are focusing on the Central Spine Road,” he added.

“At the end of the day, it is the confidence of construction players. With the backing of the government, we will be moving forward,” he said.

In a recent report, Baru said the ministry will implement 20 new infrastructure projects amounting to RM5.26 billion, including mega projects such as the Central Spine Road, the Pan Borneo Highway and the Sarawak-Sabah link road projects.

Meanwhile, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said construction players should strengthen their delivery processes to remain competitive.

“It is fact, the construction industry has been exposed to intense competition which has led to a reduced number of jobs within the sector.

“On top of that, we see a number of projects being evaluated. But, I think this will make players even stronger in their project delivery.

“Although we see less volume in the industry, we cannot discount the positive growth, as the prospect will turn around,” he said.

CIDB expects 50% of infrastructure projects above RM100 million will be assessed and certified with the development board’s sustainable Infrastructure Rating Tool (Infrastar) from December 2020 onwards.

CIDB CEO Datuk Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid said the development board will use the Infrastar to develop a sustainability benchmark for infrastructure projects in the country.

Infrastar, which was launched in conjunction with the Asean Super 8, can be applied to infrastructure projects including roads, railways, pipelines, plane runways, waterways, treatment plants and network connections.

At present, the assessment has been implemented in five pilot projects — including three government projects and two private-driven projects.