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Infrastructure devt catalyst for economic resilience

0 month ago, 19-Nov-2020

Fadillah at the Budget 2021 interview at the Ministry of Works in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Works Ministry (KKR) will focus on the implementation of public infrastructure construction and maintenance projects next year, which are deemed to be a catalyst for the countrys economic growth.

Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said that the implementation of the public projects was seen to be able to have double economic impacts on various sectors, thus benefiting the people as a whole.

When a project is developed, it not only provides economic opportunities to the project contractor but it goes beyond that.

It is because many parties are involved in one project, not only contractors but also architects, suppliers of equipment and machines, banks, lawyers and many more, he said in an interview with the media on the 2021 Budget at the KKR Complex here yesterday.

He said that the double economic impacts could be seen not only in high priority projects but also in small scale projects involving the G1 to G4 contractors.

He said that the small-scale projects would boost economic growth at a time when various parties were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the allocation given to the ministry, we are not only focused on the implementation of major projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway, but also in small projects so that these projects can run which ultimately boosts the economy at the grassroots level, he said.
Fadillah added that his ministry would also allocate RM3.8 billion for seven new projects nationwide under the 2021 Budget.

Among the projects are the construction project of the Klang Third Bridge, Central Spine Road (CSR), upgrading bridge across the Marang River as well as upgrading the Pulau Indah Highway.
A total of RM620 million has been also allocated to the Works Ministry to maintain and build new roads.

Of that amount, RM420 million will be allocated under concessions (highways) while another RM200 million is specifically for the G1 to G4 contractors, he said.

Fadillah said that his ministry would also take the approach of reducing the countrys dependence on foreign workers in the construction industry to provide opportunities for locals to fill job vacancies.

In this regard, he said, his ministry has been working closely with the Ministry of Human Resources to train locals to be absorbed in the construction industry as skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Any individual who has been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is interested in working in the construction industry is strongly encouraged to apply They can register with the Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and will be given training so that they can use their skills in this industry, he said.

Meanwhile, Fadillah said that the Pan Borneo Sabah and Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway projects recorded the latest progress of 34 and 53 per cent respectively.

He said that Pan Borneo Sarawak is expected to be fully completed by 2022 as scheduled while Pan Borneo Sabah is experiencing a slight delay.

We expect Pan Borneo Sabah to be completed in 2023 and not 2022. It is a slight delay due to several factors including the consequences of the MCO (Movement Control Order) due to COVID-19 and also the change of acquisition of the project during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government administration, he said.

In the presentation of the 2021 Budget on Nov 6, KKR as a whole received an allocation of about RM7.3 billion, involving operating expenditure amounting to RM1.26 billion and development expenditure of RM6.09 billion.

The allocation also includes expenditure to continue large-scale infrastructure projects, road construction and maintenance. Bernama

Industry, business groups hail infrastructure devt allocation to spur economic growth

Industry and business groups in Sarawak have welcomed the national Budget 2021 allocation for infrastructure development in the state.

With the ongoing federal allocation for the Pan Borneo Highway project, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) hopes that the highway will be completed on time within its stipulated five-year timeframe.

Datuk Tan Jit Kee

We hope the Pan Borneo Highway will be completed on time, even though this is its third year and it looks like it may not be completed on time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and inclement weather this year. Also there is a problem with a shortage of workers in the construction sector, said ACCCIS president Datuk Tan Jit Kee.

Tan noted that with specific allocations for the Pan Borneo Highway and other infrastructure development, Sarawak and Sarawakians would definitely benefit from Budget 2021.

If we compare infrastructure development here to that in the Peninsular Malaysia, we are 10 to 20 years behind. If the whole Pan Borneo can be completed on time, land can be developed and turned into plantations.

It will also help tourism because tourists can use road transportation from Kuching to Sibu, Miri, Limbang, or Brunei. The project will also help logistics, as many goods, including agricultural products, are transported using roads. This will certainly be beneficial to the states economy, he said.

Tan noted that there is funding for the development of Samalaju Industrial Park, which would also augur well for the states economy.

Most products from Samalaju are for export. If more companies set up or expand their factories in Samalaju, their productions will increase and more can be exported.

Then, we can impose sales tax on those products, which will increase the states income year by year, he explained.

Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg

According to Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg, a major project such as the Pan Borneo Highway would require experienced and financially strong companies with good track records to complete.

Big projects need collaborations between companies as they cannot do it alone. Hopefully, local companies will play a major role. Nothing wrong if a local company wants to work with a foreign company but at the same time, the local people must get the direct benefits such as profit, experience and jobs, he said.

Abang Karim said any development expenditure will benefit the state, and noted specifically that if Bumiputera contractors want to benefit from the budgets allocation, they will need to participate directly either through tender or working with other contractors.

He believes that the government will give due consideration to Bumiputera companies bidding for project tenders.

Hopefully the projects will be smoothly implemented. Once implemented, obviously the state will benefit, he added.

Libat Langub

Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) secretary-general Libat Langub said that the Budget 2021 reflected the Federal Governments continued commitment to bring development to Sarawak.

However, in order to narrow the development gap with Peninsular Malaysia, he said Sarawak should be entitled to a bigger allocation than the proposed RM4.5 billion development expenditure next year.

This is in view of Sarawaks vast land size as compared to other states in Malaysia and the many urgent needs in implementing various infrastructure projects such as roads, water and electricity supply, which are lacking especially in the remote hinterlands.

In the new normal practice where internet access is so vital, the said Budgets focus on infrastructure development and upgrading of the telecommunications network is most welcomed and ought to be expedited in view of the unsatisfactory service and poor connectivity experienced by most rural communities, he said.

Libar said DCCI proposed that for infrastructure development projects, the government should ensure that 30 per cent of the value of works be set aside for Sarawak Bumiputera contractors, including Dayak contractors, in order to develop a sustainable and competitive commercial and industrial Bumiputera community.

Capable Dayak contractors, particularly those having Bumiputera Class F licences, should be given priority to participate in most of the infrastructure projects and programmes in the rural areas and also in the implementation of the Essential Goods Distribution Programme, LPG, and Community Drumming as they are familiar with these places and the people, he added.

Swakians look forward to greater devt under Budget 2021

Sarawakians are looking forward to more projects next year thanks to the RM4.5 billion allocated to the state under the federal Budget 2021 for development.

Among others, the allocation is for building and upgrading infrastructure for water and electricity supply as well as roads, along with health and education facilities.

Ahmad Malie, Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union president

I welcome the allocation because part of it is to upgrade and build public infrastructure such as treated water and electricity supply, roads and health facilities, which are the basic needs of the people of the state. It also helps to meet the needs of civil servants in their workplaces. I hope that the distribution of these provisions will be made widely and efficiently for the benefit of the people as a whole, including civil servants, too. As a teacher and civil servant, I also appreciate this budget because it also allocated a budget for the physical development and infrastructure of schools in rural and inland Sarawak. With the funds, I hope that efforts to improve and develop schools, especially in the rural areas, can be implemented immediately for the convenience and comfort of the people in the near future.
Ahmad Malie, Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union president

As for the RM4.5 billion allocation for the states development, we do need RM3.235 billion to fix the remaining 647 rundown schools in Sarawak as mentioned by Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee recently. We also need divisions to have at least one divisional-level type of hospital in every division in the state too because some divisions in the state do not have any. There are many other district- or divisional-level healthcare facilities which have yet to be constructed or upgraded.
Andrew Chioh, Self-employed

Mering Wan,Retired
civil servant

A much bigger budget allocation will surely help to increase the development process, especially the rural and interior areas where basic amenities such as treated water and electricity supply and proper road connection are very much wanting and needed. The present state of backwardness of Sarawak and Sabah as compared to the Peninsular Malaysia should warrant the special attention of the federal government to focus on the development the two states. This is because the two states are major contributors to the national coffers.

Douglas Endawie, Retired private sector employee

Sarawakians will indeed benefit from the allocation that has been given, but I do think we should receive more than Sabah, or maybe equal to what Sabah receives because Sarawak is the biggest state in the country.
Douglas Endawie, Retired private sector employee

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