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THE construction industry is once again on tenterhooks with the looming 15th General Election that will have a part to play in the fortunes of the industry.
With mega jobs often closely linked to the powers that be, contractors now have this additional layer of uncertainty to deal with on top of current challenges.
While some of these challenges, which include the lack of foreign labour, expensive raw material and supply chain issues, have seen some normalisation of sorts in recent months, industry players say the sector is definitely not out of the woods yet.
Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd group chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Kuan Khian Leng for one says the industry has not recovered to reach the pre-pandemic stage.
“Material prices have increased and have not stabilised. For example, the cost of concrete very recently increased again despite a few rounds of increases in the past two years. Price fluctuations also apply to other materials used in the industry,” he tells StarBizWeek.
That said, Kuan notes that generally, after the prolonged lockdown period, construction industry activities have picked up and stabilised to a certain extent. “The supply chain has also normalised.”
Kuan says he is “certainly hopeful” about more government jobs or projects next year and with the upcoming election, “we wish for a stable government that emphasises on economic growth and the country’s development”.,
Bina Puri Holdings Bhd executive director Datuk Matthew Tee Kai Woon says more jobs should materialise next year with a clear mandate and policies arising from the upcoming election.
“This year, however, is more or less gone,” Tee tells StarBizWeek.
Tee says to-date, material prices have somewhat stabilised while the quotas for foreign workers handled by the Human Resources Ministry has “more or less been approved”.
“But the actual coming in of workers is still not there, as the processes need to comply with the (foreign worker) source countries and our government agencies.”
Haily Group Bhd executive director and CEO Yoong Woei Yeh also says material prices have stabilised, as compared to the previous months. “While prices have normalised to a new level, they are still higher than they were during the pre-Covid period.
“We are glad, though, that the price fluctuations are not as drastic as before. With that, we can have better budget management for our projects,” Yoong tells StarBizWeek.
That said, he notes that some material like concrete and bricks could again see an increase in prices soon.
Subsequently, concrete-related products like pre-cast pipe culverts and piling items might also see an increase in price, he adds.,
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