Worker shortage throws wrench into the works

Hanisah launching the seminar on occupational safety and health and workshop on accident prevention. With her are (from left) Wee, Penang Master Builders president Datuk Goh Teng Whoo and MBAM council member Michael Yap.

Contractors across the country are eagerly waiting for their supply of foreign labour to help the industry recover, says Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Oliver Wee Hiang Chyn.

“The construction industry is still facing an estimated shortage of 550,000 workers, particularly from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

“For the industry, any delay is costly.

“A lot of jobs are already behind schedule and late delivery may result in losses.

“Contractors are suffering and the country’s economy is affected,” Wee told reporters at a hotel in Butterworth.

He said that while contractors are now encouraged to invest in technology as a way to deal with the labour shortage, he hopes the Malaysian government would assist in speeding up the intake of foreign workers.

He highlighted that various programmes are also being initiated to train employees.

“The existing pool of workers we have in the market is in demand for all sectors.

“It is not good for workers to alternate between different sectors as they would not be properly trained in a single trade.

“For example, construction workers need to undergo an induction course by Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) before they can start working.

“Workers who arrive will also need to be further trained by their supervisors,” he said.

Earlier, Wee attended the 8th MBAM seminar on occupational safety and health and a workshop on accident prevention.

In his speech, Wee said untrained workers using heavy machinery while rushing to complete projects could easily get injured.

Penang Occupational Safety and Health Department director Hanisah Ahmad urged employers to ensure that their workers follow safety rules.

“Last year, 21,534 worksite injuries were recorded in the country, of which 301 were fatal.

“This is a 34% reduction in worksite injuries from 2020.

“In 2021, the construction industry in Penang recorded three fatalities.

“This year up to July, two fatalities have been recorded,” said Hanisah.

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