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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Materials at 'friendly' prices: Builders to know next week

The government will tell contractors next week where they can get construction materials like cement and steel at reasonable prices.

Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said a committee, set up in May to find solutions to the escalating cost of building materials, will come up with the recommendations.

"I have asked the committee, which is headed by the ministry's secretary general (Datuk Dr Abdul Munit Kasmin) to prepare a report in a week," he said after officiating MTD's new corporate office building in Batu Caves, Selangor, yesterday.

He was asked when the committee, which also comprised the Construction Industry Development Board, the Public Works Department, the Malaysian Highway Authority and Master Builders Association Malaysia, will submit its recommendations.

"It will not take a long time for them to come out with the recommendations as it is easier to get data on the materials such as the sources and prices.

"If there is a need for a change of policy and (to) produce a Cabinet paper on the matter, I will present those recommendations to the Cabinet," he said.

Mohd Zin said he will also try to meet International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad to discuss further action to tackle the problems.

"I also had a dialogue with industry players last week, discussing the various issues plaguing them," he said.

Mohd Zin said it is important to further grow the country's construction industry to sustain economic growth.

"Currently, the construction industry is growing at 5.2 per cent, which accounted for 6.1 per cent of the country's gross domestic product," he said.

Despite the lifting of ceiling prices for cement and steel, Mohd Zin said there seems to be a continued shortage of these materials, which has resulted in higher prices.

By New Straits Times

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