president message April 2016


According to an interim Construction Industry Development Board report, the value of construction jobs given out in the country last year dropped by about 43% to RM96 billion from RM167 billion in 2014. The report also stated that the number of jobs given out in the country had also dipped by 39% to 5,644 in 2015 from 7,853 in 2014. As of the 5,644 jobs contracted out in 2015, 1,391 were government jobs, while the remaining 4,253 were contracts from the private sector.

However, I believe that once the final report by CIDB is out by the next month the updated figures are unlikely to show a big decline. The construction industry has enjoyed a two digit growth since the past three years starting from 2012. However, as a saying goes that whatever goes up must come down. So, it is not surprising that in light of the economic challenges, the figures have dropped a little in 2015. I foresee that the construction industry will projects a single-digit percentage growth in the value and the number of jobs to be contracted out in 2016. This is driven by the infrastructure projects to be implemented this year under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

The following are the key events for MBAM in March 2016:-


MBAM Secretary General, Mr Dennis Tan and President of SMI Association Malaysia, Mr Michael Kang

During the live interview session

MBAM Secretary General, Mr Dennis Tan represented MBAM for the TV2 What Say You programme on 6th March 2016 at Angkasapuri. President of SMI Association Malaysia, Mr Michael Kang Hua Keong was also present as one of the panelist for this program. The topic of the discussion was on the legalization of illegal Foreign Workers Programme. During the interview, Mr Dennis elaborated on the impact of the suspension of the foreign workers to the construction industry. The ongoing projects will probably still go on with minimal disruption as most of the manpower required for the projects is already sourced after the contractor originally secured the project.

However, when the new projects are launched, contractors will potentially face problems in getting enough workers to work on the projects if the suspension is not lifted soon. According to MOHA there are about 2.1 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia. The numbers do not reflect the real number of foreign workers in this country as we do not have the exact numbers for the illegal foreign workers. Which is why it is important to have this rehiring programme so that the Government and the industry can have a better idea of how many illegal foreign workers are in the country. To conclude, the interview was a good platform for MBAM to share our views on the latest happenings with regards to foreign labour and provided a good exposure for MBAM to learn about how live interview session works.



MBAM President, Mr Matthew Tee answering the question by Mr Jiun Kang

Presentation of MBAM 60th Anniversary Coffee Table Book as a token of appreciation to Mr He Jiun Kang

SME Connect is Malaysia’s first monthly Chinese SMEs business newspaper and has a readership comprising of company leaders and the management level. On 7th March 2016, Mr He Jiun Kang a reporter from SME Connect paid a visit to MBAM’s office to interview me on the future of the building industry in Malaysia. I explained to him the lifelong battle of the building industry to get sufficient labour for its projects and the ever increasing cost of doing business that is burdening the employers.


On the question of local contractors going global, MBAM believe that we should embrace the challenges in going global as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and One Belt One Road agreements are unavoidable. Therefore, it is time for local contractors to step up their game to compete with foreign contractors to deliver products and services that are up to global expectations and conform to international standards of quality and performance. The international barriers to trade in services should also be gradually and ultimately removed to encourage the local contractors to go global.



Live broadcast of MBAM President, Mr Matthew Tee’s interview by Bloomberg TV

MBAM President, Mr Matthew Tee presenting the MBAM 60th Anniversary Coffee Table Book as a token of appreciation to Ms Sophie Kamaruddin.

On 8th March 2016, I was invited by Bloomberg TV Malaysia for a brief interview on the issue of foreign workers in Malaysia. The interview took place at Bloomberg Head Office in Kota Damansara. The interview was held for their programme the Moving Malaysia which was led by their main anchor Ms Sophie Kamaruddin. Among the issues that were brought up during the interview was on the rehiring program and the freeze on intake of foreign labour. The construction sector is coping for now but a prolonged freeze on intake of new foreign workers will hurt the industry as labor shortage will delay project completions. The Government needs to engage industry players more to make real progress on reducing reliance on foreign labor. The interview was short and sweet but we savoured the chance to be a part of the new era of fast paced news sharing program.



The candidates for the COCD programme during the interview session

The interview session for the 6th intake of the Pilot Project on the Construction Occupational Competency Development (COCD) Programme for Construction Trade Supervisor (Foreman) was successfully conducted on 11th March 2016 at MBAM Training Centre. A total of 20 participants from MBAM Council Member companies and MBAM Member companies were shortlisted in this programme. The six and half (6 ½) days course will run from 5th April 2016 to 24th May 2016 at MBAM Training Centre.

The said programme was fully funded by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia with the primary objective to certify and register construction site personnel in particular site supervisor, site agent and site foreman. This initiative is in line with the amendments made to CIDB Act 520 in 2011 where CIDB Malaysia is committed to enhance the image and professionalism of the construction industry and to continuously improve the competency of construction personnel through certification and registration.  

It is our intention that through this formalised construction competency training programme, the construction practitioners especially construction site personnel would have a better career development and advancement opportunity. 

Participants will receive a Certificate of Competence upon completion of the assignment and portfolio for this programme.



YBhg. Dato’ Ir. Ahmad Asri, Chief Executive of CIDB is giving his opening remark.

Group photo with the main organizer in conjunction with the ICW 2016

The Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) organized the International Construction Week (ICW) 2016 Press Conference and Luncheon on 11th April 2016 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC). The objective of the event was to promote International Construction Week (ICW) 2016 and programs within the ICW. The ICW will take place from 11th April 2016 to 15th April 2016. Among the key personnel that attended the press conference were as follows:-

  • Dato’ Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri Bin Abdul Hamid, Chief Executive of CIDB Malaysia
  • Datuk Elias Ismail, Senior General Manager, Technology Development Sector, CIDB Malaysia
  • Mr Eliane Van Door, Director of UBM Asean Business Development
  • Mr Gopal Narian Kutty, Vice President of Institution of Engineers Malaysia



Among the members attending the EGM

MBAM Council Members that attended the egm

The Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) was held on 11th March 2016 at Horizon 5, Level R, eCity Hotel at One City.  The EGM commenced at 4.00 pm when Secretary-General Mr Dennis Tan declared a quorum of 57 was established in compliance with Clause 7.1.7 of the Association’s Constitution.

This EGM’s objectives was to pass the following amendments to the Constitution of the Association. The 5 resolutions, namely:

  • Resolution 1: Proposed amendment to the existing Clause 10.6.2 and Clause 12.1 of the Constitution of the Association on the Vesting of immovable properties.
  • Resolution 2: Proposed amendment to the existing Clause 8.2 and Clause 8.5 of the Constitution on the composition of the Council Members.
  • Resolution 3: Proposed addition of a new category of membership referred to as “Graduate Alumni Members”.
  • Resolution 4: Proposed amendment to the existing Clause 6.1 of the Constitution on the Affiliate Membership’s first annual subscription fee.
  • Resolution 5: Proposed amendment to the existing Clauses 9.3(e) and (f), 9.6 (d) and 9.8 (d) of the Constitution where the Council proposed to increase the amount of authorized expenditure of the President and Secretary-General as well as the petty cash held by the Treasurer-General for the ease of administration and the discharge of their duties respectively.


It was an eventful and a challenging year for MBAM but on behalf of the Council Member, I would like to extend our appreciation for the continuous support extended to the Association and the construction industry.  We are continuously working towards a stronger Association that can protect the interest of all its members, and we hope to achieve this by having a larger membership which at present stood at 833 members.  As an Association, we must build constructive relationships with all our key stakeholders.  MBAM has set a target of reaching 1,000 members in 2016.  Therefore, I hope that all members can work together to reach the target by assisting in getting more companies to join the Association. 

The EGM then tabled the five (5) Resolutions for consideration and adoption. All the Resolutions were adopted after having all members unanimously voting in favour.



Among the MBAM Council Members attending the Karaoke Competition

The winners of the MBAM Karaoke competition

The inaugural MBAM Karaoke Battle 2016 was held on 11th March 2016 at Hong Dae Mun, Skypark at One City. The competition was held with the aim to promote better interaction and understanding amongst members of MBAM.  A total of 24 contestants comprising staff of member companies took part in the event. 

The results were as follows:

  • Champion @RM1,000 with trophy : Ms Nurul Asyikin binti Jamaludin of Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd
  • 1st Runner Up @RM600 with trophy : Ms Angie Lee Yen Jie of Crest Builder Sdn Bhd
  • 2nd Runner Up @RM300 with trophy : Ms Haly Musa of Megalift Sdn Bhd
  • Best Popularity @RM100 with memento of appreciation : Dr Jerry Chong of Centro

Lifestyle Ceramics Sdn Bhd.

  • Best Costumes @RM100 with memento of appreciation: Mr Lim Kuang Hong of Ireka Corporation Berhad.


MBAM wish to extend our appreciation to MBAM Council Member, Ms Tan Zini and Trans Elite Corporation Sdn Bhd in association with Zoomlion for the sponsorship of the event. Mementos were also presented to the 3 judges, namely Madam Tang Suit Ping, Madam Sharon Chong and Miss Liza Foong. Overall, the event was interesting and full of thrill as we endeavoured to crown the champion for 1st MBAM Karaoke competition.



MBAM Council Members, Speakers and Committee Members in a group photo with The Honourable Dato’ Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Court of Appeal Judge (5th from right)

The full house attendance at the seminar

Seminar Looking at The Practical Implications of the Nominated Subcontractor (NSC) was held on 29th March 2016 at Holiday Villa Hotel & Suite, Subang. The seminar was graced by The Honorable Dato’ Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Court of Appeal Judge who took time  off her busy schedule to deliver a keynote address and officiated the event. In my welcoming remarks, I thanked both Yang Arif and the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) for their kind support for this event. CIDB had generously sponsored the speaker’s flight ticket, travel and accommodation for the event. The event saw the participation of 120 participants plus 15 other guests who attended the opening ceremony.

Also seen at the event were Ir. Ramuseran A/L Muthu, General Manager, Construction Business Division, CIDB Malaysia and Ms Chan Kum Siew, Senior Director, PEMUDAH, Malaysia Productivity Corporation. Mr Oliver Wee, MBAM Deputy Secretary-General 1 and MBAM Contracts and Practices Committee Chairman moderated the Q and A session with the following speakers:

  1. Ms Tan Swee Im, Senior Partner, Swee Im, Siva and Partners, Advocates and Solicitor,
  2. Mr Peter Clayton, Partner, Pinsent Masons,
  3. Mr Rajendra Navaratnam, Partner, Azman Davison and Co.

The topic of the Nominated Subcontractor is a very interesting and pertinent topic affecting the value chain of our construction industry and the livelihood of MBAM member companies. Members who attended wanted to find out about the rights of the employer, the contractor and the nominated subcontractor. With this seminar it is hoped that all issues raised can be properly examined and if required be brought to the attention of the relevant Government or agencies as part of our wish list or recommendations.



MBAM Secretary General, Mr Dennis Tan, MBAM Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling and I attended the 40th Building Industry Presidents’ Council Meeting held on 29th March 2016 at Council Room, Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) Centre, Wisma Bandar, Kuala Lumpur. 

There was a briefing from SME Bank on IBS Promotional Fund.

The meeting also saw the handing over of Chairmanship from the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) President, Tuan Haji Mohd Nazri Mohd Noordin to PAM’s President, Ar. (Dr.) Mohd Zulhemlee An. 

Some of the issues discussed were as follows:-

  • Issues affecting the industry – PAM will be organizing a BIPC Roundtable Discussion on 20th July 2016 in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival (KLAF).
  • Review on PAM Contract 2006 – PAM is currently reviewing the PAM Contract 2006. BIPC Institute members are requested to provide feedback to PAM if there are any shortcomings in the PAM Contract 2006.
  • Update on foreign worker issue – 48% levy increase on foreign workers in the construction sector, from RM1,250.00 to RM1,850.00, plus a freeze order on the employment of new foreign workers. However, the Rehiring programme is currently ongoing through certain assigned agents.
  • The recent expansion of coverage under HRDF/PSMB Act, 2001 to cover other sub-sectors not within the First Schedule (mandatory), which now include Construction sector. BIPC will be writing to the Ministry of Human Resources on the contribution to HRDF Fund.
  • Construction Industry Transformation Plan (CITP) – CIDB has formed 18 committees and MBAM are represented in 8 of these committees, whilst ACEM are represented in 3 of these committees.
  • Poor quality of graduates, professionals and consultants in the market. IEM reported that there is a lack of students joining the science stream.  Another basic problem is lack of understanding on the fundamentals of engineering by the students pursuing engineering degrees.




Matthew Tee


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