JULY 2021 PRESIDENT WEBSITE MESSAGE
The month of July 2021 pose another challenging month especially for those in the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) areas. MBAM is very appreciative of what the government is doing in facing the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has been striking to balance between the economy and livelihood of the people. However, in reality, the Malaysian construction industry would need direct assistance immediately to ensure our industry is sustainable.
VOP and EOT should also be applied to projects in private sector
MBAM thanks the government for announcing the PEMULIH aid and economic stimulus package on 28 June 2021. To some extent, part of the PEMULIH aid package to support businesses in the construction industry may benefit some contractors. However, MBAM is in the view that the VOP and EOT should also be applied to projects in private sector. Currently, there is no cost sharing between both contracting parties as contractors still have to bear all the idling and SOP compliance cost during the Phase 1 and 2 of the National Recovery Plan. In addition, the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Act 829 amendment is crucial to include private projects and sharing of related expenses arising from COVID-19 between contracting parties.
Give Priority to Construction Industry and Its Related Supply Chain for Vaccination and Reopening of Operations in Stages
MBAM held a virtual meeting with its Affiliate Members and construction related Associations on 29 June 2021. Following the meeting, on 2 July 2021, MBAM with together with 35 associations in the construction industry have sent a joint memorandum to the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Vaccination priority should be given to construction industry workers and the building materials supply chain under Phase 2 of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Program (PICK) with a target of full vaccination or two doses by the third quarter of 2021, and the reopening of the construction industry in stages and by priority.
The allocation of Construction Industry Vaccination Program (CIVac) vaccines for only 40,000 workers in Phase 1 and 100,000 workers in Phase 2, which is 10% of the total construction industry workforce comprising about 1.4 million people, it is feared that the target of herd immunity networks will not be achieved according to government’s planning. Therefore, we hope that the allocation will be increased by phases and the vaccine supply delivery schedule will be improved to achieve the set vaccination rate.
Currently, the operating rate of construction sites is low and most of the contractors currently in operation have taken note of the shortage of existing building material stocks and will most likely run out in the near future. On that account, the reopening of the construction industry should start from now and not in Phase 3 of National Recovery Plan (NRP), where the use of threshold values collectively at the national level as opposed to the use of specific local situations, is not very helpful in our members’ planning.
In the joint memorandum, we recommended that the reopening of the construction industry is to be implemented in stages and in order of priority. The reopening of the construction industry can be assessed and implemented according to different timeframes and determined by factors that are objective as well as localised. Flexibility can be given to some sectors in the industry to resume operations when part of their workforce has been vaccinated. All companies or businesses allowed to operate must adhere to strict SOPs even among fully vaccinated employees.
We are hopeful that the proposals in the joint memorandum will be duly scrutinised and subsequently accepted for implementation at an immediate rate.
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Tan Sri Sufri Hj Mhd Zin PSM, SSAP, DPTJ