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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

140 construction-related industries to benefit

Contractors lauded the governments move to allocate a big chunk of the RM7 billion stimulus package to the construction and housing sector, but stressed the need for timely and coordinated execution.

By removing import duties and approval permits on more building materials, the government is further liberalising the local steel and cement markets.

"We're appreciative of the government lifting import duties on more steel products and cement," said Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) president Ng Kee Leen.
"This should facilitate more steel products and cement from regional producers at competitive pricing if there is not enough supply in the domestic market.

"Such pump-priming moves should ensure continued growth in the construction sector, thus benefiting more than 140 related industries.

"We hope to see timely and coordinated rollout of these jobs," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday announced a stimulus package to boost the economy, most of which would go towards building and upgrading of low-cost housing units, schools, roads and public amenities.

The Real Estate and Housing Developer s Association Malaysia (Rehda) is pleased that the government would be building more low-cost and low-medium cost homes.

"Such a move will relieve private sector developers from social obligations and allow us to focus on meeting the demand for market-driven products, especially during these trying times," said Rehda president Datuk Ng Seing Liong.

He said the removal of the need for Foreign Investment Committee approval for purchases of commercial properties worth RM500,000 and above would encourage more foreign investment in Malaysia's property sector.

"Property investment is still one of the most viable options, considering the high yields in the longer term."

Rehda also hopes to see more competitively priced local building materials with the lifting of duties and approval permits on imported steel bars and cement.

Crest Builder Holdings Bhd, which specialises in constructing police and army quarters, is happy with the governments move to channel funds to projects that will directly benefit small and medium-sized contractors. Currently, 40 per cent of its RM1.3 billion order book are government projects.

Executive director Eric Yong said: "This is good news because these are high-multiplier projects, benefiting large groups of engineers, architects, surveyors, contractors, sub-contractors,
building material suppliers, freight forwarders and property

Mah Sing Group Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum, expressed optimism the stimulus package would have far-reaching and positive implications.

"Another key point is the creation of jobs, as historical statistics have shown that job security and sentiments are the most important factors in property investment decisions.

"The move will certainly attract more investments and generate more employment in the country.

"Mah Sing Group, in particular, is very upbeat about the far-reaching, positive effects that the incentives will bring about."

By Business Times

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