PRESIDENT MESSAGE – APRIL/MAY
While we are going through the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) now extended to 9 June 2020 as part of the Government’s measure to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all of us from different walks of life are affected by this current situation. From having to put on hold our construction projects, to staff having to work from home, to workers being told that they need to stop working, illustrates how we are all truly affected by it. It is indeed a tough time for us to soldier through.
At MBAM, we are very well aware of all the concerns and worries by our members especially in the construction industry. From time to time, we are reminding our members to be safe and always practice good hygiene wherever they are, mainly on site. Once the Phase 1 of MCO was announced by the Honourable Prime Minister on 16 March 2020, MBAM has been working diligently to provide members with more information related to the construction industry. However, as the industry does not fall under the “essential” services that has been categorised by the government, the industry was not allow to continue any form of work. This definitely raised a lot of questions especially on the safety and health matters as well as the well-being for the workers while projects are being put on hold.
On 19 March 2020, MBAM wrote an appeal to the Honourable Prime Minister who is also the Chairman for the National Security Council for construction industry to operate as usual with stringent control of health. At the same time, MBAM also wrote an appeal to the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) to allow housekeeping, dewatering and to complete uncomplete jobs which were dangerous if left unattended at site for the sake of safety and health. The site must be cleaned and forging and ‘larvaeciding’ must be allowed to go on. Therefore, on 23 March 2020, the Ministry of Works Malaysia updated its FAQ which was initially published on 18 March to include more items under the list of critical works required to maintain the safety and health at construction sites.
Besides that, on 25 March 2020, MBAM submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Works, Malaysia on the impact of COVID-19 on the Malaysian construction industry and proposed several specific recommendations to help safeguard the industry and help construction related companies that are in distress due to COVID-19. Among them are, to allow construction to go full swing, to urge government to refund the balance of GST and income tax, to enact Covid-19 Bill (Extension of Time), to review the payment of levy for foreign workers, to allow CIDB levy to be paid in instalments, review to accreditation and competency cost for skill workers and site staff etc.
On 27 March 2020, as part of MBAM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the year 2020, we have carried out a donation drive to collect funds to buy medical supplies and PPEs to be contributed to the front liners in fight against COVID-19. Within two weeks, MBAM has collected RM100,000.00 and contributed medical gowns, face shields and masks to Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) for COVID-19 namely the Kepong District Health Centre and Hospital Ampang in a handover ceremony on 30 April 2020.
MBAM Donation for COVID-19 handover ceremony at Kepong District Health Centre
MBAM Donation for COVID-19 handover ceremony at Hospital Ampang
I was present at the handover ceremony together with, from left: Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling; Treasurer-General, Mr Kenneth Liew; Deputy President, Tan Sri Sufri Hj. Mohd Zin; and Senior PR Executive Chew Chee Yan (not in photo).
MBAM’s hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and government who are on the front lines working to contain this coronavirus. We would like to thank all the contributors listed in the attached appendix for your generous donation and kind support.
Throughout the month of April, we have also been working closely with respective government bodies such as Economic Action Council (EAC), Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Ministry of Works (MOW), the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (PEMUDAH), Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) and Social Security Organisation (PERKESO) on how to restart the economy for the construction industry in specific. Many feedback were obtained and I would like to personally thank all MBAM members for cooperating in providing the relevant feedback to MBAM for submission to the government. It is with the members’ contribution that we at MBAM are able to be the voice of the industry.
In mid-April 2020, we have also created a dedicated webpage on COVID-19 relating to the Malaysian construction industry on our website. Members can obtain more information at http://mbam.org.my/covid-19/
Beginning 4 May 2020, most sectors are allowed to resume work and that includes the construction sector. This happy news however cause dilemma, mainly among contractors, on restarting of work with the many Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Guidelines to adhere to. Therefore, we advise our members to follow the latest developments related to COVID-19 and adhere to the guidance of government, authority bodies and public health officials from time to time.
At this point of time, MBAM is still working closely with the government and relevant parties to ensure the industry will be able to restart and revive its economy. Therefore, members are advised once again to follow all the SOPs as ordered as we are still fighting against COVID-19. We should do our part to help prevent the spread of the pandemic and hope that we will emerge much stronger and more resilient. Let us help the Malaysian construction industry to recover strongly for the continued growth of our nation.
Stay safe and we shall get through the challenges together!
FOO CHEK LEE JMW