MBAM members seek ‘urgent economic support’


In a statement yesterday, the association also suggested the government provide financial assistance and low-interest financing rates to provide financial aid to businesses, tax break and utility subsidies throughout the total lockdown period, wage subsidy programme for all employees with the salary of RM4,000 and below and speedy payment for government projects to ease cash flow of the construction industry.

PETALING JAYA: Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) is suggesting the government to impose an automatic moratorium extension for people and businesses starting from June 1, in light of the latest lockdown measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement yesterday, the association also suggested the government provide financial assistance and low-interest financing rates to provide financial aid to businesses, tax break and utility subsidies throughout the total lockdown period, wage subsidy programme for all employees with the salary of RM4,000 and below and speedy payment for government projects to ease cash flow of the construction industry.

MBAM, which represents close to 17,000 members in the local construction industry, said many contractors could no longer absorb the additional costs and “might fold” especially with the six-week lockdown.

It said the construction industry needs “urgent economic support” especially with the rising costs due to the Covid-19 fallout including high steel bar and copper prices, insufficient workers, compliance cost, SOP cost and swab test cost.

“All these costs were not factored in at the start of the project and with no provision in the Covid-19 Bill to protect the contractors, we have been biting the bullet in order to ensure that projects can still be completed on time and providing job security to the many workers in the industry, ” MBAM said.

The latest movement control order starting today, would see tighter SOPs where only critical maintenance and repair works and critical construction works for major public infrastructure would be allowed.

“Therefore, MBAM hopes that the government will soon announce and roll out additional stimulus package to assist the economy and people to cushion the economic impact for the industry, ” it said.

It also suggested a waiver of levy for foreign workers renewing their work permits and extension of permit approval for those stuck in their home country, as well as, an extension of the temporary measures for reducing the impact of Covid-19 disease 2019 (Covid-19) Act 2020.

“The Covid-19 Bill must also protect contractors and to expressly state the provision for extension of time (EOT) and cost-sharing between contracting parties. Contractors should also be allowed to ask for compensation from project owners, ” MBAM said.

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