Al­low work­ers from nine coun­tries – SBA

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - HOME -

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Builders As­so­ci­a­tion (SBA) wel­comes the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in spend­ing RM6.5 bil­lion for ru­ral in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and RM2.2 bil­lion for de­liv­ery of hous­ing through gov­ern­ment agen­cies in Sabah and Sarawak.

This will for sure spur more civil and build­ing work con­tracts which will ben­e­fit the con­struc­tion in­dus­try play­ers as a whole.

SBA ap­plauses the al­lo­ca­tion of RM4.9 bil­lion to im­ple­ment the Tech­ni­cal and Vo­ca­tional Train­ing (TVET) mas­ter­plans as this will as­sist in pro­duc­ing highly skilled and com­pet­i­tive work­force, re­duc­ing the re­liance on for­eign work­ers and also in­creas­ing the num­ber of lo­cal skilled work­ers and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

How­ever, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of TVET may take some time to re­al­ize its goals, thus SBA urges the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to con­sider in al­low­ing the con­trac­tors to hire for­eign work­ers from nine se­lected con­tries to fill in the de­mand­sup­ply gap. In ad­di­tion, to also im­prove the hir­ing process by adopt­ing on-line and elec­tronic hir­ing sys­tem.

This ef­fort will as­sist to solve the present tem­po­rary short­age of work­ers and to re­duce the present high cost and lengthy process of hir­ing via agent which is lim­ited to hir­ing for­eign work­ers from two coun­tries to work in Sabah only.

The nine source coun­tries for work­ers are Indonesia, Thai­land, Cam­bo­dia, The Philip­pines, Sri Lanka, In­dia, Viet­nam, Laos and Myan­mar.

SBA opines that the 2% re­duc­tion for per­sonal in­come tax should also be ex­tended to the cor­po­rate in­come tax to ben­e­fit the con­trac­tors, as profit earned from con­tract works are hard-earned money for most medium and small size con­trac­tors in Sabah.

As the de­vel­op­ment ex­pen­di­ture for 2018 is main­tained at RM46 bil­lion which is sim­i­lar to that of 2017, SBA views that the al­lo­ca­tion of RM2 bil­lion for the Pan Bor­neo High­way project is barely suf­fi­cient for those work pack­ages that had been al­lo­cated un­der Phase 1 to which some have been awarded and some are about to be awarded.

The as­socu­a­tion hopes this will not in any­way dis­rupt the progress of the on-go­ing Pan Bor­neo high­way projects, par­tic­u­larly on the work sched­ules and pay­ments to the con­trac­tors. Be­sides, SBA also hopes that sub­se­quent phases of the project can be ex­e­cuted as per the plan.

SBA ap­pre­ci­ates that the Goods and Ser­vice Tax (GST) is kept at 6% to which it will not fur­ther bur­den the con­trac­tors. In ad­di­tion, it is also thank­ful for the GST re­lief for ser­vices to con­struct school build­ings and places of wor­ship, which are funded through pub­lic do­na­tion.

Nev­er­the­less, SBA views that the gov­ern­ment should also pro­vide GST re­lief for af­ford­able homes and aban­doned hous­ing projects, par­tic­u­larly as means to fa­cil­i­tate the projects and to keep the con­struc­tion cost low.

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