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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stem rising building material prices, Govt urged

PROJECTS under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) will come to a stop if the government does not act immediately to stem the rising prices of building materials, construction industry bodies said.

They added that contractors could no longer absorb the rising cost of materials and were facing cash-flow problems although the market for steel bars and cement had been liberalised.

"Although these essential building materials have been liberalised, prices continue to soar to an all-time high," Master Builders Association Malaysia, Real Estate Housing and Developers Association of Malaysia, Persatuan Kontraktor Melayu Malaysia and Persatuan Kontraktor India Malaysia said in a joint statement yesterday.

The associations said that contractors may be forced to stop work, delay, or even abandon projects as a result of the costlier building materials.

"This will cause a lot of hardship to many people - clients, designers, suppliers, sub-contractors, and 140 other related industries, including the financial system," they added.

The associations said prices of steel bars and cement had gone of control since 2006, even with the Price Control Act.

In the case of steel bars, although liberalised last May, the process has not been well implemented and it has been difficult to import steel bars.

The associations said the liberalisation of steel bars and cement saw an immediate price increase by millers of 12 per cent for steel bars and 22 per cent for cement.

The higher cement price caused concrete price to rise 23 per cent, and there is a possibility it may increase further next month, they added.

The associations also want the government to undertake a quick study on the need to provide funds to stabilise prices and counter artificial shortages.

By New Straits Times

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