KUALA LUMPUR • Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today assured qualified local contractors that they will get the best opportunity to develop national projects.
Thus, Ismail Sabri refuted various allegations that the allocation of development expenditure of RM95 billion in the 2023 Budget will only benefit certain parties.
“The government I lead today is always prioritising the development of infrastructure to benefit the entire Keluarga Malaysia,“ he said at the opening ceremony of the Malay Contractors Convention 3.0 and the 43rd annual general meeting of the Malay Contractors Association Malaysia (PKMM), here today.
On Oct 7, the government tabled the Budget 2023 amounting to RM272.3 billion, which is the largest in the country’s history that focuses on the well-being of the people, business continuity, economic prosperity, and the efficiency of government services.
Budget 2023 also allocates as much as RM95 billion for development expenditure which is the highest in history including as many as 7,615 development projects.
Ismail Sabri said Budget 2023 also provides various specific initiatives for G1 to G4 class contractors with an allocation of RM500 million to carry out maintenance works on federal roads, small bridges and bridges, houses of worship and infrastructure damaged by floods.
To support Bumiputera contractors, Ismail Sabri said the government will also provide short-term financing to the contractors involved in fields such as electrical and construction through the Express Contract Financing Scheme (SPIKE) with funds amounting to RM20 million.
He said as much as RM50 million worth of small projects will also be allocated to G1 to G4 class female contractors through the Kontraktornita initiative to support the participation of more Bumiputera female contractors in government procurement.
“However, all of this will only be enjoyed if the 2023 Budget is re-tabled and approved after the 15th General Election. If I am given the opportunity to form a government after this, Insya-Allah, this budget will be re-tabled and approved,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that the government realises that in such a challenging economic environment, not many contractors are willing to be involved in low-cost housing projects with low returns, especially with the uncertain price of building materials.
Therefore, he said the Cabinet has approved an additional allocation to increase the price (of the construction) of the Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT) and People’s Housing Programme (PPR) unit to RM68,000 from RM55,000.
He also called on all contractors involved in government projects to show the best performance in terms of quality, productivity, professionalism and to complete the project on time.
Commenting on foreign workers, Ismail Sabri said the recruitment process will continue but the government will still give priority to local workers.
He said as of today there are 1.6 million foreign workers in the country but the number will not exceed two million to ensure enough workers for all sectors including construction so that contractors can continue and complete their projects. — Bernama