President Message October 2016

PRESIDENT MESSAGE-OCTOBER

Referring to the announcement recently made by the Immigration Department Director-General, Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali to freeze the assets and bank accounts of employers in the industrial sector who hire illegal foreign workers starting from 1st October 2016, MBAM’s stand is to object the move as the reality is many businesses do not want to employ illegal foreign workers if they have the choice. However, legal foreign workers are very time consuming to process and on top of that, very costly to recruit due to so many layers of processing both by Government agencies and third parties. Freezing the assets of construction companies would affect the livelihood of employees in the construction industry and impact on the productivity of the industry.

MBAM hope the Government will reconsider their move to freeze the assets of the employers as it will cause more harm than good to the industry and by extension the economy of the nation. We are willing to work with the authorities to explore more transparent and efficient system to bring in foreign labour in a more efficient manner.

The following are the key events in September 2016:-

 

THE 39TH INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ASIAN AND WESTERN PACIFIC CONTRACTORS’ ASSOCIATIONS (IFAWPCA) MIDTERM EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING IN KATHMANDU, NEPAL

The midterm executive board

During the meeting session

MBAM delegation attended the 39th International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors’ Associations (IFAWPCA) Midterm Executive Board Meeting held at the Gokarna Forest Resort, Kathmandu, Nepal from 31st August 2016 to 1st September 2016.  This Executive Board meeting was hosted by the Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal (FCAN) and had attracted over 70 delegates from 17 countries and regions to exchange views on current and important issues related to the construction industry.   

The IFAWPCA Finance Committee met on 31st August 2016 and the meeting was chaired by MBAM Immediate Past President, Mr Matthew Tee. The Finance Committee examined and scrutinized the financial reports for the year ending 31st December 2015.  The Committee also discussed the status of the financial standing for 2016 and the proposed budget for 2017. 

The 39th IFAWPCA Midterm Executive Board Meeting was chaired by the IFAWPCA President, Mr Park Jong-Woong from CAK who delivered the opening remarks. The meeting proper was then conducted by the IFAWPCA Secretary-General, Mr Park Han-Sang from CAK.

CAK also presented their updated video presentation on the 43rd IFAWPCA Convention with the theme: “Convergence and Stepping Forward”.  IFAWPCA President, Mr Park Jong-Woong from CAK urged members of IFAWPCA to support and attend the upcoming 43rd IFAWPCA Convention in Seoul, Korea.  MBAM has committed to send 50 delegates to attend the convention. Please keep a lookout for the announcements regarding the 43rd IFAWPCA Convention. 

 

 

COURTESY VISIT TO CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION OF BHUTAN

Group photo with the members of the Construction Association of Bhutan

In front of the Construction Association of Bhutan’s office

MBAM Vice President, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Sufri Bin Haji Mohd Zin, MBAM Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling and I visited the Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB) on 3rd September 2016.  We had a good dialogue session and exchange of information with Mr Thinlay Gyamtsho, President of CAB, Mr Ugyen Penjor, Vice President of CAB, Mr Wangdi Gyeltshen, General Secretary of CAB, Mr Tshering Yonten, Council of CAB and a few other Council Members of CAB. CAB informed that they would like MBAM to help them build up their linkages or networking on intellectual forums at international level.  IFAWPCA will be their first involvement at international forum.     

Before the visit was concluded both parties expressed interest for collaboration to work together and to develop sending our two-way delegations to each country in other to understand more regarding the business and investment opportunities available in both countries.

 

42nd BIPC Meeting

The BIPC members’ discussion session

Group photo with the other BIPC members

MBAM Secretary General, Mr Dennis Tan, MBAM Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling, MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Lenny Lim and I attended the 42nd Building Industry Presidents’ Council Meeting held on 9th September 2016 at PAM Centre, Jalan Tandok, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

PAM presented the Resolution PAM Roundtable with BIPC held on 20th July 2016 in conjunction with Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival (KLAF) 2016.  The meeting noted on the deteriorating quality among professional graduates.  The meeting requested that the paper be reviewed again before presenting to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia.

 Some of the issues discussed were as follows:-

  • MITI’s Public Hearing on the Safeguard Investigation on Imports of Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar (Rebar) into Malaysia was held on 15th August 2016. MBAM has opposed the safeguard investigation.  On 22nd August 2016, MITI has announced the extension of time frame to an additional 30 days to 25th September 2016 for making the preliminary determination.
  • Employment of foreign workers – the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has now reopened the recruitment of foreign workers for the construction sector. MOHA has set a new requirement on JobsMalaysia Online Registration and Job Advertisement effective 15th August 2016.  It must be advertised for a minimum of 14 days before we submit the KDN’s application for new foreign workers quota.  The online advertisement must date after 15th September 2016.
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) – migration is slow because the cost is high. Suggest that the Universities include BIM in their course syllabus.  Propose that CIDB come up with a Centre for BIM and to work with CIDB to do BIM training.
  • CIDB Act 520 – Need to education our members on the CIDB Act 520 as the penalty is high when there are any non-compliance on the said Act.
  • The Government will have to set a date for the implementation on the requirements on scaffoldings soon.

After the meeting, members present were taken on a tour of the new PAM Centre at Bangsar. 

 

INTERVIEW WITH NEW STRAITS TIMES

Ongoing interview with Mr Foo Chek Lee by Ms Ooi Tee Ching from NST

On 7th September 2016, Ms Ooi Tee Ching came to MBAM’s office to interview me on the manpower shortage in the construction industry. Among the issues raised in the one-hour long interview were the increase of levy imposed on foreign worker and the increase in minimum wage. Increase in fuel prices such as gas and diesel and how these rising cost of doing business affect the contractors were also highlighted. We also talked about the performances of the construction industry and how the construction job award value kept increasing since 2011 till now. The meeting was also attended by MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Lenny Lim and MBAM PR Executive, Ms Tessa Hamid.

 

COURTESY VISIT TO NANYANG SIANG PAU

The top management in Nanyang Siang Pau

Presenting the token of appreciation to Mr Wong Siew Peng

MBAM Delegates consisting of MBAM Past President & Honorary Advisor, Datuk Kwan Foh Kwai and Dato’ Ng Kee Leen, MBAM Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling, MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Lenny Lim, MBAM PR Executive, Ms Tessa Hamid and MBAM Executive Officer, Ms Abbie Ng and I paid a visit to Nanyang Siang Pau on 8th September 2016. MBAM was received by the following Nanyang Siang Pau representatives: Executive Editor-in-Chief, Mr Wong Siew Peng, Executive Editor (News), Mr Ooi Chew Wah and Executive editor/Government & Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Foo Tick Fat.

The following are among the issues highlighted during the visit:-

Lack of skilled worker

The construction industry have seen a continuous improvement in the safety performance due to the effort by the industry, trade associations and the Government. However, the construction industry has experienced pressure on the occupational safety and health front in the recent years, due to the rising number of major infrastructure projects, the ageing of heavy machineries, as well as the lack of skilled workers that contributed to some major accidents at the project sites.

Zika Virus

Our government suggests to put up mosquito traps in the construction site. However, putting up mosquito traps would solve only part of the problem, MBAM advise our members to always keep their site clean and free from water ponding.  It is important to tackle the issue at source i.e. stop the breeding of mosquito at sites.

Steel Bar

MBAM would like to highlight that the Association had worked to stabilise the price of steel bars which had increased on May 2016. After our meeting with Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation (MISIF) and Malaysia Steel Association (MSA) on 17th May 2016, we are pleased to inform the supply situation of steel bars has improved and is stable. The current issue is to monitor the safeguard petition on steel bars that was filed in by MSA which claimed that the rising imports of steel bars had severely affected the local industry. Any safeguard measure granted will push up the cost of construction and inevitably it will push up the inflation in our domestic economy.

 

MBAM FELLOWSHIP NO. 4/2016 SPONSORED BY SUDUT SWASTA SDN. BHD AND PLY TEC FORMWORK SYSTEM INDUSTRIES SDN. BHD

MBAM Council Members with the other guests at the fellowship

Mr Foo Chek Lee presented a token of appreciation to Mr Yang Kian Lock, Managing Director of Sudut Swasta Sdn Bhd

On 8th September 2016, the MBAM Fellowship No.4/2016 sponsored by Sudut Swasta Sdn. Bhd and PLY TEC Formwork System Industries Sdn. Bhd was held at @VOIZSUP, Level G1, Wisma Miramas, Taman Desa, Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. A total of 108 pax attended the fellowship. The event concluded with the presentation of souvenir to the sponsors. Overall it is a successful night for MBAM members to strengthen their bonds and networking session.

 

PENANG MASTER BUILDERS & BUILDING MATERIALS DEALERS ASSOCIATION (PMBBMDA) 139TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER

A memento was presented to Mr Alvin Yeow

MBAM Vice President, Ir. Chuan Yeong Ming, MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Michael Thong and I attended the 139th Penang Master Builders & Building Materials Dealers Association (PMBBMDA) Anniversary Dinner on 20th September 2016. The event was also attended by numerous dignitaries from the Penang Government and private sectors.

In my speech I touched on the friendship between MBAM and PMBBMDA as well as on the common interest to work together for the benefit of members and the construction industry. The construction industry have been experiencing a continuous double digit growth which started in 2012 and the first quarter 2016 and second quarter 2016 recorded 7.9% and 8.8% respectively. MBAM in the interest of finding a long term solution took a proactive role to work together with Ministry of Home Affairs, CLAB, CIDB and institutions of higher learning. Actions pursued by MBAM range from ensuring a stable policy on the recruitment of foreign workers  as well as to encourage and train local workforce to match the industry’s needs.

In addition MBAM had vigorously appealed to the Government to reduce the import duties for construction heavy machineries which currently ranged from 20 – 30 percent, in order to encourage the adoption of Industrial Building System, to enhance productivity and to reduce dependence on foreign workers. On the current issue of Zika and Denggi, MBAM supported the initiative taken by the government to encourage construction sites to install mosquito traps. However, MBAM is of the opinion that it should be left to the contractors to adopt the best method to eradicate the mosquito threat at construction site. An exchange of mementos between both the Presidents of PMBBMDA and MBAM was held to commemorate the occasion.

 

DIALOGUE WITH PENANG MASTER BUILDERS & BUILDING MATERIALS DEALERS ASSOCIATION

In conjunction with the Dialogue session a souvenir was presented to Mr Alvin Yeow

The dialogue between PMBBMDA and MBAM was attended by PMBBMDA President, Mr Alvin Yeow, Past President, Mr Vincent Ong Seng Chye, Committee members, Mr Seow Soon Yeow, Ms Jacqueline Khoo Peng Peng and secretariat staff, Ms Kate. Meanwhile, MBAM was represented by MBAM Vice President, Ir. Chuan Yeong Ming, MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Michael Thong and I.

The dialogue was held on 21st September 2016 to address current issues of seizure of assets for employment of illegal workers, the upcoming meeting with the Director of MyEG to discuss foreign workers permit, the meeting with Deputy Finance Minister II on the high import duties on construction heavy machineries and the safeguard petition by Malaysia Steel Association.

PMBBMDA touched on the GST issue which involved one of their members with a developer and after much discussion it was agreed to obtain more evidence for further study before a conclusion could be made. Issues on their association’s constitutions and by laws were raised and MBAM agreed to forward to PMBBMDA a soft copy of our constitutions and by laws for them to adopt wherever applicable. MBAM agreed to ‘like’ PMBBMDA’s face book page when invited by them.

In winding up, both the Associations concluded it was a fruitful dialogue and agreed to hold more such dialogues in the future and it was proposed to have a grand MBAM and PMBBMDA Joint Construction Conference to be held every 2 or 3 years.

 

COURTESY VISIT FROM SOCIETY OF CONSTRUCTION LAW (SOCL) MALAYSIA

The meeting took placed at the Tan Sri Datuk Tee Hock Seng’s Conference Room

The 60th MBAM Coffee Table Book was presented as a token of appreciation

The visit took place on 23rd September 2016 at Tan Sri Datuk Tee Hock Seng Conference Room. The Society of Construction Law, Malaysia saw its beginnings in 2003 as the Society of Construction Law (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) with a membership comprising persons interested in construction law and residing in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

The Society also works with institutions and organizations both locally and internationally to promote their objectives and to provide a platform for its members and others stakeholders throughout the construction, legal and related professional service industries to come together to discuss issues relating to construction law and related fields such as all forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) including arbitration and adjudication, construction, project and risk management. Representing the Society of construction law (SCL) were Mr Thayananthan Baskaran, SCL President, Mr Tatvaruban, SKRINE and Ms Siew Suet Mey, SKRINE.

Issues discussed included SCL Digest, SCL Delay and Disruption Protocol Malaysian Supplement, the SCL Review of Construction Law to be held 20th January 2017 at KLRCA and the SCL Handbook on Construction Law.

Overall, it was a productive and enlightening meeting. Both organisations expressed their hope to work closely together to further grow the construction industry.

 

MBAM CSR PROGRAMME – MANGROVE TREE PLANTING AT KUALA SELANGOR NATURE PARK

MBAM’s signboard was placed at the area our team planted the mangrove trees

A short demo on how to plant the tree

As a responsible Association, Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) had organised a CSR programme on 24th September 2016 at Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Kuala Selangor. The activity selected for this year’s programme was to plant mangrove tree saplings at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, which was a nature park managed by Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

A total of 87 participants participated in the event, which saw a total of 350 mangrove tree saplings successfully planted.  After toiling the morning away planting the tree saplings, the participants later adjourned to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a sumptuous seafood lunch. Some of the participants later continued their visit to Kuala Selangor by touring the Bukit Melawati where one can get close and feed the friendly Silvered Leaf monkeys.

Spending the day close the nature left us feeling refreshed and we departed Kuala Selangor feeling hopeful that one day we might return to see the fruit of our labour grow and mature to be part of the nature park’s complex ecosystem.    

SAFEGUARD MEASURES ON STEEL AFFECTING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

MBAM issued a press release on 27th September 2016, to share our stand against the safeguard duties of 13.9% for steel coils and 13.4% for steel re-bars that the Government introduced recently. This safeguard rate will be imposed on top of the existing 5% import duty. MBAM fear that it will lead to uncontrollable prices of steel bars due to the absent of the free flow of imported steel. A few months before, the price of steel bars has increased from about RM1,500 per tonne in January 2016 to a record high of RM2,700.

MBAM is not against profit making by the steel millers, however, MBAM hoped that they would not take excessive profiteering by taking advantage on the other industries. Bearing in mind that various public interest construction projects that are still ongoing or being planned ( MRT Line 2 and Line 3, LRT line 3, Pan–Borneo Highway, High Speed Rail, affordable housing projects, etc.), it is certainly AGAINST public interest to impose any safeguards measures on fairly priced Rebar imports and increase the cost of construction projects. It is simply not logical to burden and pass the cost to the consumer in order to protect a few companies. We urge the Government to do a proper study on the potential impact of safeguard measures on imported steel products on the construction industry and other industries which will directly or indirectly impact the public.

 

MBAM TECHNICAL PRODUCT BRIEFING NO. 1/2016

Mini exhibition on the Acotec’s products was also displayed during the MBAM technical briefing

Group photo with the sponsors and speakers of the MBAM Technical Product Briefing

The MBAM Technical Product Briefing No. 1/2016 was successfully organized on 30th September 2016 at Swiss Garden Residences Kuala Lumpur. The event which was sponsored by Acotec a member of OSK Group attracted 74 attendees.  MBAM Alternate Council Member, Mr Thomas Samuel presented souvenirs to the three speakers namely Dr. Foo Chee Hung from CREAM, Mr Phoon Yin Han, Senior Technical Manager Acotec and Mr Leong Lai Kiong, Senior Product Manager, Welmate.

The talks basically explored how prefabricated housing design can be evolved from mass repetitive production level to mass customization level.  The event was well supported and the key success factor was the explanation on Acotec Panels and the Acobuilt system as well as in depth explanation on the successful implementation of Acotec Panelsin Singapore.

 

MBAM FELLOWSHIP NO. 5/2016 SPONSORED BY ACOTEC A MEMBER OF OSK GROUP

MBAM Alternate Council Member, Mr Thomas Samuel (center) with Mr Ong Ju Yan, Deputy Group Managing Director of OSK and Acotec’s representatives

A token of appreciation was presented to Mr KC Tan, CEO of Acotec

The above fellowship sponsored by Acotec a member of OSK Group was held on 30th September 2016 at Swiss Garden Hotel and Residences Poolside. The event attracted more than 101 attendees. We are very thankful to Acotec for the kind sponsorship which enabled MBAM members to network and build stronger relationships with each other.  Overall it was a successful event and a token of appreciation was presented to Acotec at the end of the event.

 

PERAK CONTRACTORS’ ASSOCIATION 51ST ANNIVERSARY DINNER

MBAM Council Member, Mr Eric Kuan (4th from left) with the Council Members of Perak Contractors’ Association

On the occasion of the Perak Contractors’ Association’s 51st Anniversary celebration on 30th September 2016, MBAM Council member, Mr. Eric Kuan and MBAM Senior Manager, Mr Michael Thong were present at the event. On hand to welcome the guests was the Perak Contractors’ Association’s President, Mr. Lau Wah Heng and his council members. On arrival the guests were greeted by a pair of traditional Lion dance troupe.

In addressing the occasion, Mr. Eric Kuan in his speech acknowledged the close working relationship between the two associations and the support rendered by the Perak Contractors’ Association for the advancement of the construction industry. He hoped that the Perak Contractor’s Association would continue to play an important role and work together with MBAM to address common interest of the industry.

Next, on behalf of MBAM, Mr. Eric Kuan presented a memento to Mr. Lau Wah Heng who received it on behalf of the Perak Contractor’s Association. The event continued with dinner and stages shows. It was an enjoyable night for all the guests.

 

 

FOO CHEK LEE

President