MBAM: Monitor steel, cement before lifting controls

THE Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) has called on the government to ensure adequate measures are in place to monitor and regulate the steel and cement distribution network before lifting price controls on the materials. 

MBAM said in its memorandum that the measures were necessary to prevent price manipulation in the local market. 

“Prior to the imposition of the price control measures in the 70s, there was rampant hoarding and manipulation to create artificial shortage,'' it said. 

The association also proposed that the approved permits (APs) for steel bars, cement and flat rolled steel products be abolished. 

Following the government's imposition of high levy for the import of steel plates early last year, the price of locally produced steel plates, C-channel, lip channel, flats, angles, tubes and galvanised plates have gone up by 30% to 40%. 

“This has not only caused contractors to suffer losses but has also affected the other related industries, including the furniture industry,” it said. It added that the import of certain flat rolled steel products not manufactured locally also required APs and this had caused delays in construction projects. 

MBAM said the association should be consulted and included in the World Trade Organisation negotiation on construction related matters. 

It said that in line with the government encouragement to export construction services, it was necessary for Miti to make reciprocal request to create a “level playing field.''  

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (MIPMM) has proposed that the government disallow the International Air Transportation Association's (IATA) proposed plan on volumetric weight factor increase. 

It said the plan proposed by IATA last year would raise the cost of Malaysia's exports by 20% in landed cost. 

The proposal by IATA, which was not successful last year and is expected to be made again in October, would mean that all incoming and outgoing shipment with volumetric weight would have 20% freight increase due the change of calculation and measurement of charges, MIPMM said. 

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