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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     18 October  2011

Malaysian construction industry needs dynamism

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) aims to make the local construction industry more dynamic by encouraging more local builders to be global players and having more skilled local construction workers as part of efforts to develop a high income economy in Malaysia, says its newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Dr Judin Abdul Karim.

He said CIDB, a regulatory body and custodian of the local construction industry formed in 1994, has identified and put in place several initiatives to get the industry moving into higher gear.

They include getting local contractors and workers to be better equipped and qualified to embrace new technologies so that they can improve their delivery in terms of quality and time, thus reducing the need for hiring millions of unskilled foreign workers.

At the same time, CIDB would also help effect better payment mechanisms for contractors and sub-contractors through new legislations, he told BERNAMA in an interview.

All these are part of efforts to make the Malaysian construction industry one of the best in the world by 2015 and enable more construction companies to have a more global outlook and vie for international contracts instead of solely depending on local projects, he said.

To do this, CIDB has a number of challenges to tackle. For a start, the construction industry is still very fragmented and needs to improve, especially in the composition, quality and productivity of the workforce.

Its workers, made up largely of foreign labor, are mostly transient and move around a lot as they do not have permanent employment. When certain projects are completed, they move to the next construction site.

"Currently, the construction industry uses 8 percent of the workforce but contributes to only about 3 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product).

"We need to be more productive and we can do this by becoming more mechanised," Dr Judin said, adding that there was no need to do everything at construction sites as many components can be made elsewhere in factories under better quality control conditions and subsequently assembled at the sites.

Greater mechanisation would bring about multifold benefits, including reducing the need for unskilled foreign workers, equipping local workers with better skills to operate more sophisticated construction machinery, he said.

Such knowledge can also come in handy when local workers were employed by Malaysian firms vying for construction jobs abroad, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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