KOTA KINABALU: Sabah builders are urging the government to consider measures to allow building activities to resume in a bid to alleviate losses faced by the construction industry which has come to a halt since the movement control order was put in place on March 18.
Sabah Builders Association president Lou Chi Nam said that many contractors in the state were facing severe financial challenges.
Among the areas he said that the government could consider was to allow all construction activities in the open as well as infrastructure and building works in naturally-ventilated areas with no obstruction of air movement, to operate with a 100% work force.
“It will also help daily workers who are currently without income to earn a much-needed lifeline and reduce social problems, ” he said.
He said construction activities in partially-enclosed spaces (naturally-ventilated but partially obstructed by walls with window openings) should also be allowed to operate with a 50% workforce, gradually increasing to 100% when the risk of spreading the disease reduces.
He said that various standard operating procedures for controlling the spread of Covid-19 within construction sites can be put in place as required by the Health Department.
Lou also hoped that the financial aid for SMEs be extended from three to six months and a special relief plan for loan repayments, interest payments to finance institutions as well as a plan to allow deferment or prolonged instalments to the Inland Revenue Board and the Construction Industrial Development Board, Malaysia (CIDB).
Lou said that the stop-work order since March 18 had delayed the progress of many projects.
“This has seriously affected the cash flow of construction players, not to mention the consequential losses due to disruption to the supply chain which will take time to recover, ” he said.
Lou said that they understood the government’s decision to extend the MCO till April 28 and appreciated the International Trade and Industry Ministry's approval for certain additional sectors to operate to boost the economy.
However, he said that the main contractors allowed were under the G1 and G2 category, while the majority – if not all – other projects were mainly undertaken by G3 to G7 contractors in Sabah, who would not be allowed to resume work.
“Unlike Peninsular Malaysia, where precast or prefabricated components are readily available for the Industrial Building System (IBS) construction, in Sabah, there are no projects under construction that comply with the 70% IBS score, ” he added.
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