KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 (Bernama) -- The Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) has urged the government to allow importation of foreign workers from more source countries in Asean, China and India.
The construction industry was facing shortage of skilled workers and meeting this shortage was of urgent concern, MBAM President Kwan Foh Kwai said in the statement today.
"Furthermore, as we need more skilled and well trained workers for the heavy engineering sector like MRT projects, we appeal that skilled workers from China be allowed to work on these projects as many Chinese workers are now available after completing MRT and high speed rail projects in China," he said.
He said besides manpower, the government should also pay attention two other main factors affecting the industry -- heavy construction machinery and building materials.
He said the current import duty and sales tax imposed on heavy construction machinery were comparatively high when compared with other Asean countries. In Malaysia, they were as high as 40 per cent while in other Asean countries, they averaged about five to 15 per cent, he said.
"Since the government is pushing for productivity enhancement in order to achieve high income and reduce dependence on foreign workers, we hope the government would consider further liberalisation and the reduction of import duties and sales tax," Kwan said.
Meanwhile, he said that with the many projects under implementation, the capacity of local manufacturers of building materials would be better utilised.
"With a lower inflation and better optimisation of invested capacity, we expect a stable supply and prices of major building materials will be maintained within reasonable range to sustain the economy and production capacity thus employment," he said.
Kwan said addressing these factors would help maintain the construction industry's momentum after growing 15.5 per cent in first quarter 2012.