President Message June 2019


MBAM supports the view of Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran to reinstate the foreign workers replacement system for all sectors to help resolve the labour shortage in the country. The previous system was an effective avenue for employers to replace workers and to enable employers to quickly meet their work obligation. The shortage is also due to the freezing of the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers which has not been resolved.

The current process takes an estimated nine weeks while the previous replacement process can take between one to two weeks provided that all necessary documents are in order.

The industry faces a lot of issues and problems with regards to the supply of workforce. Besides facing the shortage of workers, the industry also has to bear long recruitment processes besides paying very high price to recruit them.

The reinstatement should be implemented immediately to save time and cost which will help move the construction economy forward.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the key highlights for the month of May:-

Second Meeting with Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN)

On 3 May 2019, SPAN called up for a second meeting with MBAM to better understand the issues faced by MBAM Affiliate Members such as The Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Plumbing Association (SKLPA), Perak Plumber Association (PPA) and Persatuan Tukang Paip Negeri Sembilan (PTPNS) which were presented at the first meeting on 20 February 2019.  Based on the issues discussed, SPAN will present to Jabatan Kerajaan Tempatan (JKT) and get endorsement. MBAM were led by Vice President, Dennis Tan together with Executive Director, Loh Mei Ling and secretariat staff. On the other hand, to receive MBAM delegates were SPAN’s Deputy Directors, Ir Lee Chin Shyan, Izaidi Bin Ahmad, Azamy Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Aziz; and representatives from Air Selangor.


Group Photo with the representatives of SPAN

On 4 June 2019, SPAN has officially replied on the discussion, the issues and outcomes. Below are some of the outcomes:-

  1. Valid Period of Calibration Certificate for Pressure Gauge: Air Selangor (AiS) note that if the calibration certificate of the pressure gauge is still valid (1 year), it can be used. AiS reserved the right to request the contractor to review if there is any doubt about the accuracy of the pressure gauge readings.
  2. Meter Specification: Consultant will follow Part G – Uniform Technical Guideline (UTG), it including the drawings for the meter arrangement and obtaining the approval of the meter arrangement from the operator of the water supply before commencing onsite work, ±50mm tolerance the distance between meter and surface wall. AiS informs that most of the work that the contractor has to redo is due to the uneven meter arrangement as in the approved plan. This incident occurred because the contractor performed the site work before the plan and drawings were approved by AiS. AiS reserves the right to reject the contractor’s work which does not comply with the specifications which will ultimately complicate the work of AiS.
  3. Product use for Certain Brands: AiS cannot refuse the use of products that have been approved by SPAN. The contractor should first check the valves that are used with the consultant before the tender is made.


Technical Visits to Alliance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd and Molecor (Sea) Sdn Bhd, Kuantan, Pahang

The technical visits to Alliance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd and Molecor (SEA) Sdn Bhd in Kuantan, Pahang were organised on 14 May 2019. The visits were held with the aim to create awareness and enhance our member’s knowledge on steel and PVC pipes’ product, learn new technologies in manufacturing and other relevant information on the products. MBAM General Manager and Committee member of Material Resources Committee, Michael Thong led a team of 23 MBAM members for this visit.


MBAM General Manager, Michael Thong presenting a token of appreciation to Dato’ Nelson Ho of Alliance Steel (M)


MBAM General Manager, Michael Thong presenting a token of appreciation to Khairul Anwar of Molecor (SEA)

Overall, the participants were satisfied with the visit as it was educational and have added to their knowledge on steel and PVC.


Council Meeting No. 4/2019 in Melaka

MBAM held its 4th Council Meeting on 17 May 2019 at Governor Hall, Encore Melaka.


I was chairing the meeting. On my left, Immediate Past President, Datuk Matthew Tee and on my right, Secretary-General, Eric Yong

At night, the Council Members and Secretariat were invited for a dinner organised by Malacca Building Contractors’ Association (MBCA) at SJK (C) Bachang, Kampung Tambak, Melaka. I also gave a short speech during the dinner.


Group Photo of MBAM Council Members and Executive Director at Encore Melaka

MBAM Meeting with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)

The meeting was held on 27 May 2019 at Annexe Building, Bank Negara Malaysia chaired by Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya. MBAM were led by Immediate Past President Datuk Matthew Tee, Vice President Mr Dennis Tan, Council Member and secretariat staff. The meeting discussed some topics as follows:-

  1. Approval and processing time for the issuance of Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) or bank guarantee (BG) to be expedited for overseas bank funding.
  2. Request to increase the existing permitted threshold for provision of financial guarantees.
  3. Gestation period in overseas venture.


2019 Roundtable Meeting on China-ASEAN Decorative Building Materials Industrial Cooperation at the 1st International Ceiling Wall Peak Conference

MBAM Deputy Secretary-General 1, Ong Ka Thiam attended the above event on 29 May 2019 representing MBAM at Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China. The invitation was under China-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) and China Association of Decorative Building Materials (CADBM). Ong was given the honour to present on behalf of MBAM on the celling wall market in Malaysia as well as to share his insights at the roundtable. Besides giving an overview of the Malaysian economy and key opportunities in the Malaysian ceiling and wall market, he also shared the challenges facing the decorative building materials market in Malaysia such as the tight work schedule for Interior Decoration (ID) works and limited skill workers resources due to stringent renewal of foreign work force. Apart from the challenges, Ong also presented on what the Government and industry can do to grow the market including providing incentives and financial support and growing a new pool of skill workers (local or foreign) to support the industry growth. Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for MBAM to share its experience on an international platform.


MBAM Deputy Secretary-General 1, Ong Ka Thiam fourth from the right

10th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) in Macau SAR, China

MBAM was invited to attend 10th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) held on 30 – 31 May 2019 at The Venetian Hotel, Macau. The IIICF is jointly organised by China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) and the Macau Trade & Investment Promotion Institute. The Forum serves as a platform to exchange views and ideas on infrastructure investment and construction. I represented MBAM together with Honorary Advisor, Dato’ Ng Kee Leen and Senior Manager, Chai Min Fung at the 10th IIICF.

The theme for the 10th IIICF was Promoting Quality and Sustainable Development of International Infrastructure. Among the agenda were the launch of “The Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index (2019) and The Annual Report on the Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index (2019)”, Keynote Forum on Pursuing Quality and Sustainable Infrastructure – from Goals to Practice and inter-alia a forum on Development and Management Practice of International Engineering Contracts. There were several forums and exhibitions held concurrently over the two days.

In line with the theme of the 10th IIICF and the aim of providing better supports to enhance multilateral cooperation among international associations and Multilateral Development Banks, the two panel discussion topics for the International Association Chairman’s Forum this year were “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Investment in Quality and Sustainable Infrastructure” and “Under the work of the Joint Action Plan, how do the international associations promote their member companies to invest and construct in quality and sustainable infrastructure with consideration of their own conditions?”


Group photo with the participants of International Association Chairman’s Forum

The first panel discussion was moderated by Procurement Advisor, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Ian Nightingale with Chairman of China International Contractors Association (CHINCA), Fang Qiuchen giving the Welcome Remarks. The second panel discussion was moderated by Executive Director, Managing Director China Operations, China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), Jeff Astle. Among the Chairpersons or Presidents from international associations who attended the International Association Chairman’s Forum were some members of International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors’ Associations (IFAWPCA) and its President, Mohamed Ali Janah, President of European International Contractors (EIC) and contractor associations from Africa.

I spoke on the latter panel where I highlighted that MBAM and other industry players are also working with the related authorities to look into the policy, design and material specifications in their support of the infrastructure sustainability objectives. MBAM always plays an important role to promote quality and sustainable infrastructure construction amongst its members while working and collaborating with other industry players and the relevant authorities to overcome challenges and to ensure the success of the said objectives. I stressed that as a construction industry association, MBAM will continue to collaborate with each other in the effort of achieving sustainability and to pave way towards creating a robust, self-sustaining construction industry.


Me sharing my views on the forum topic

The highlight of this 2-day event was the 10th IIICF Anniversary Night which was held at the Parisian Hotel on 30 May 2019.  MBAM was among the recipients awarded as “Excellent Partner for Outstanding contribution to the IIICF. This is in recognition and appreciation of MBAM for its support and assistance to the development of IIICF and the collaboration with CHINCA for the past 10 forums.


I received the award on behalf of MBAM (fifth from left)

I also presented a souvenir to the Chairman of CHINCA, Fang QiuCheng as a token of appreciation to CHINCA for extending the invitation to MBAM and to congratulate CHINCA its success in jointly hosting the 10th IIICF in Macau SAR, China.


Me presenting the souvenir to Chairman of CHINCA, Fang QiuCheng with Dato’ Ng Kee Leen


MBAM President

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