PRESIDENT MESSAGE – JANUARY 2020
As we are moving into the New Year, we should recap on some of the highlights for year 2019. At MBAM, we are grateful that in 2019 we had the opportunity to meet and had a dialogue with the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed; Finance Minister, YB Tuan Lim Guan Eng; Human Resources Minister, YB Tuan M. Kula Segaran; Works Ministry Secretary General, YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Syed Omar Sharifuddin bin Syed Ikhsan; and Bank Negara Malaysia on some of the issues faced by the Malaysian construction industry.
The announcement of a number of government projects under Budget 2020, which include mega infrastructure projects within the country, such as the Pan-Borneo Highway, Bandar Malaysia and the Rapid Transit System from Johor to Singapore, as well as other projects involving the upgrading and maintenance of public facilities and the development of rural areas serve as a confidence boost to the flagging construction industry, which saw a worrying downtrend in its overall growth in past years.
As local contractors look forward to increased job opportunities, measures to address current challenges faced by industry players come into consideration. These range from ongoing issues such as a shortage of construction workers and skilled labour to the impact of disruptive technologies on smaller industry players – all of which contribute to the rising costs of doing business. MBAM looks to the local authorities and association leaders from various sectors for a more in-depth look at the industry and its various sectors, covering past performances, goals and their outlook on the future of the industry.
In terms of MBAM’s goal, we wanted to serve our members better despite the tough business environment and we did that through providing conferences and seminars with good content such as our Building & Construction Conference, MBAM Safety Conference and various other trainings and networking activities.
The construction industry experienced a depressing growth rate in 2019, largely due to the deferment of infrastructure projects. The downwards trend would have been more drastic if not for prompt actions by the Prime Minister Mahathir to cushion the slowdown after MBAM highlighted five pressing matters to him at his office in January 2019. This led to meetings with Bank Negara Malaysia and officers from Ministry of Finance to further discuss on matters relating to Malaysian construction industry.
Overall, the industry is facing very challenging times for many years already. For those who have done well despite the challenging times, have obviously built their credibility and capability over the years, and has a strong brand presence. Contractors are hungry for projects and there must be enough to go around for contractors. We also need to resolve once and for all, the shortage of workers in the construction industry and upskill our workers to be competitive in light of Industry 4.0. The industry will also be thankful if the Government can help Malaysian contractors and builders venture more prominently overseas. More importantly, the Government should not add more regulatory burden if possible, as this will increase the cost of doing business.
Creating demand for projects is critical to ensure enough projects for all existing active players. Manpower is also an area that requires attention, especially with regards to shortage of workers as well as keeping recruitment cost and time down. Stability of building material prices is also another key factor to ensure growth opportunities. More assistance should be given to SME-level industry players so that they can continue to not only survive but grow further. Rising cost is also a great concern and we must be able to do more with less in terms of the cost of doing business.
The government’s announcement to reduce foreign workers to 15% is alarming without a corresponding increase in local labour in the market as this will affect the existing business operations. MBAM hopes that the government will conduct an in-depth study on workforce requirements before capping foreign workers at 15% in year 2020.
MBAM also welcomed the news of budget allocation of RM5.9 billion for TVET programmes as we feel that it is an effective step to resolve the local manpower shortage and the dependency on foreign workers in the long term.
We also hope that any changes to Government policies will go through proper consultation with industry stakeholders to keep itself abreast with the industry needs, including TVET programmes, as changes will impact cost and timeliness of delivery of projects.
We also continued to organise various conferences, seminars, trainings, fellowship gatherings and outreach programmes for the benefit of our members. I hope members will keep on supporting MBAM events in 2020. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all MBAM members and Secretariat staffs for all the support and commitment given in growing the Association.
Now, let us take a look at some of the highlights for last month:-
Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) Town Hall Session
The MOHR town hall session was held on 5 December at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur and was attended by MBAM HR Committee Member, Mazlan Haron; Manager, Mohd Farhan Bin Mohammad Din; and Senior Assistant Manager, Mohd Hanif Bin Ismail.
The session started with the presentation on “Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) Strategy Paper – Inclusive Labour Market for Prosperous Nation” by Secretary General of MOHR, Dato’ Amir Bin Omar followed by a Focus Group Discussion (FGD)which covers:-
- Twelfth Malaysian Plan (12MP)
- Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony (COC)
- National Human Resources Policy
- National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC)
The 12MP Focus Group was led by Director General of Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia, Dato’ Jeffrey Joakim. It was reported during the session that approximately 15.4 million existing labour workforce in 2019 and 2020 versus the future of work readiness which forecasted about 17.3 million in 2025 and 19.0 million in 2030.
Later that afternoon, the programme continued with a dialogue session with Minister of Human Resources Malaysia, YB Tuan M. Kulasegaran and Deputy Minister of Human Resources Malaysia, Dato’ Mahfuz Bin Omar. All the groups presented their outcome of discussion during the FGD.
Mazlan with other attendees
Occupational Safety and Health in Construction Industry (Management) (OSHCIM) Conference 2019
University Technology Malaysia (UTM) organised the OSHCHIM Conference 2019 at Palm Garden Hotel, IOI Resort City in Putrajaya on 10 December. The Conference was supported by Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB).
Statistics published by DOSH Malaysia has shown that the rate of fatalities in the construction industry has been increasing at an alarming rate (14.94 per 100,000 workers) in 2017 due to lack of safety and health design consideration at the early stage of construction projects. To improve this situation, DOSH Malaysia has developed the Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health in Construction Industry (Management) 2017 or OSHCIM which is based on “Safe by Design” concept. Clients, designers, contractors, competent persons and other duty holders need to work together to eliminate or reduce and/or control the hazards through design at the pre-construction phase. The guidelines are similar with the Construction Design Management (CDM) or CDM Regulation by United Kingdom (UK) Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Enforcement of the CDM Regulation has successfully reduced the fatality rate to 1.4 per 100,000 workers in the year 2016 in United Kingdom according to HSE UK Statistic.
MBAM Safety and Health Committee Members attended the Conference, starting from left: Ahmad Nazmi; Rozaimy Amiruddin; Council Member cum Deputy Chairman 1, AlecChong; Technical Director, Ir. Chuan Yeong Ming; Deputy Chairman 2, Major (Rtd) Leong Yee Keong; and Council Member cum Chairman, Michael Yap
The Conference was officiated by Chairman of OSHCIM Committee and President of KLIA Premier Holdings, Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Ir. Jamilus Hussein. Also present was Director General of DOSH Malaysia, Ir. Hj Omar Mat Piah.
During the Opening
I was also one of the panellists during the Forum session
Courtesy Visit by the Chartered Institute Of Building United Kingdom (CIOB UK)
On 17 December, the delegates from CIOB UK led by their Chief Executive, Caroline Gumble and Director of Operations, Amy Gough together with members of CIOB Malaysia-Chapter paid a courtesy visit to MBAM. On hand to welcome the visitors were MBAM Deputy President, Tan Sri Sufri Hj. Mohd Zin; Honorary Advisor (Education), Chua Siow Leng; Executive Director, Loh Mei Ling; and Secretariat staff.
After a round of self-introduction, the MBAM corporate video was played to introduce MBAM to the visitors which was followed by a short introduction of CIOB UK and its activities. The purpose of the visit was to enhance the relationship and build a collaboration between MBAM and CIOB which have a common interest to enhance the recognition of professional training courses such as Certified Construction Manager. In addition, MBAM had throughout the years supported the CIOB’s Novus program to build a pool of young talent for the construction industry. It was agreed for a start of the joint collaboration, CIOB UK would furnish in details on the various professional courses to MBAM in exploring the possibility to conduct training in the form of online distance learning. In conclusion, both Associations look forward to strengthen our relationships and develop a global community among their members.
MBAM Deputy President Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Sufri Presented the MBAM 60th Anniversary Coffee book and the Master Builders Journal to Ms. Gumble. In return Ms. Gumble on behalf of CIOB UK presented their book “The Art of Building” and CIOB Corporate Plan 2020-2023 to MBAM.
Besides Gumble, CIOB UK was also represented by its Director of Operations, Amy Gough. Also in attendance were representatives from CIOB Malaysia.
Lastly, I would like to wish all MBAM members who are celebrating a very Happy Chinese New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le!
FOO CHEK LEE JMW