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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Builders expect new projects to start flowing in H1 2009

PETALING JAYA: Contractors expect new jobs to start flowing in following the Government’s efforts to pump prime the economy in the first half of next year.

Master Builders Association Malaysia president Ng Kee Leen said it usually took three to six months for tenders to be called after an official announcement.

Last month, the Government announced a RM7bil stimulus package to prevent the economy from contracting amid the global slowdown.

Ng told StarBiz that about RM4bil of the RM7bil was for the construction sector, which often had a spillover effect on other segments.

“The new jobs are likely to be small contracts like low-cost housing and schools,” he said, adding that more stimulus packages were anticipated next year.

Despite the weaker economic conditions, contractors are still busy with projects that were offered in late 2007 and the beginning of this year.

“Contractors are not doing so bad. We may not be making much money but there are still jobs to be done. We hope the RM7bil package will be quickly disseminated to contractors to bid for the projects. This will enable the benefits of the stimulus to be felt and help contractors survive in this tough times,” Ng added.

A research house, in a report, said the Government’s pump-priming efforts were likely to gain momentum next year as the stimulus would ensure the 2009 growth forecast of 3.5% was met and the country did not slip into a recession.

“With just two years to go before the end of the 9MP (Ninth Malaysia Plan) and more than half of the allocation of RM230bil not spent, we think the construction sector can certainly look forward to more aggressive project flows,” it said.

On Monday, it was reported that the Government was likely to open tenders in the first quarter of next year for the extension of the light rail transport (LRT) system involving the Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines.

The contracts offered are worth over RM1bil in total, which is part of the RM10bil upgrade of Klang Valley’s LRT system that was announced during the Budget 2009 presentation in August.

Meanwhile, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, owner of the LRT assets, said on its website the tender for architectural consultancy services for the upgrade of 24 Ampang line station was now open.

By The Star (by Yeow Pooi Ling)

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