PETALING JAYA: Local contractors want the government to ensure “full complete packages” of work under the revived RM44bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project
Master Builders Association Malaysia’s (MBAM) president Foo Chek Lee said while the increase in local participation in the project was welcomed, local contractors must not end up being given sub-labour work. The increase in local participation will help reduce contractors’ pain and further elevate their gain for 2019.
“However, we hope that the government will give full complete packages instead of sub-labour works only when distributing the project to local contractors under the ECRL,” he said in a statement issued yesterday.
He was referring to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement on the ECRL which included renegotiated terms of increasing local contractors involvement to 40% compared to 30% under the previous terms.
Foo said the announcement had come at a critical time for the construction industry as many contractors were vying for projects at the start of the second quarter of the year.
“The announcement will definitely be an added confidence booster for the construction industry in light of the government’s announcement on March 31 that a total of 121 infrastructure projects nationwide worth over RM13.9bil will go on following cost renegotiations,” he noted.
He said resumption of the project would definitely benefit contractors and builders especially in the east coast of the peninsula.
“It will help increase their experience and enhance their capabilities besides generating employment and boosting the overall construction economy and value chain,” he said.
Malaysian Malay Contractors Association’s president Datuk Mokhtar Samad said that bumiputra contractors were ready to compete for work under the ECRL through the open tender bidding system.
“This is a golden opportunity for us to take up the Prime Minister’s challenge for bumiputra contractors to compete in a new industry such as the rail industry,” he said yesterday.
However, Mokhtar said the government must provide some form of guidance and leeway to emerging bumiputra contractors who may not possess the financial clout as the more established companies.
“What is important is that capable bumiputra contractors are given the opportunity to participate in the project,” he said.
He cited the example where bumiputra contractors, who were nurtured under the previous PLUS expressway projects, have since been successful in overseas highway projects.
Bina Puri Holdings Bhd group executive director Datuk Matthew Tee Kai Woon said the news was timely as the construction sector had been lacking a stimulus factor after the general election. He said the project was important as it would move the relationship between the two countries forward.