With many tied to deadlines agreed upon prior to the government’s movement control order (MCO), property developers in Malaysia are eager to restart work at construction sites.
“Most developers, especially the average-sized and larger developers, want to start work again,” said Datuk Soam Heng Choon, President of Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) Malaysia as reported in The Sun Daily.
“We have overheads and our responsibility to our clients to meet our agreed-upon deadlines. But many construction projects cannot start because of the mandatory Covid-19 tests needed before our foreign workers can come back to work.”
He explained that while they agree with the guidelines set by the Health Ministry, he noted that the limited testing facilities are delaying developers’ effort to continue works.
“We have a few hundred thousand foreign workers. However, only a few labs have been commissioned to test them,” said Soam.
He revealed that setting up an appointment for the test could take up to two weeks, and another two weeks to receive the test results.
“The Health Ministry has been made aware of our problems, and we hope to receive a response soon,” he added.
Soam expects problems with imported materials, like lifts and elevators from China, to be resolved soon given that China has started to ease up restrictions on their manufacturers.
“I don’t think this will be a problem for much longer,” he said.
Meanwhile, local manufacturers are just waiting for construction projects to start works again for them to run their factories at full capacity.
“If they manufacture their products but there is no uptake from the developers and construction companies, the manufacturers will then face storage issues,” said Soam.
He added that construction projects have to be given the green light urgently to help boost the economy.
Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that over 4,000 construction projects out of the 6,000 checked by the Construction Industry Development Board had decided to remain closed.
Of the remaining sites, 900 complied with the standard operating procedures set by the Health Ministry, while 224 were found to be non-compliant.