Construction, housing industry urged to go for mechanisation, automation to reduce reliance on foreign workers

A screengrab of Abang Johari (left) presenting the award to Bobby Ting of Elica during the ceremony broadcast live through Ukas' YouTube Channel. Also seen is Dr Sim (right).

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By Karen Bong and Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Aug 11: The construction industry has been urged to adopt mechanisation and automation using robotics in certain operations in order to reduce reliance on foreign workers, remain competitive and ensure the sustainability of the industry.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out Sarawak cannot rely heavily on foreign labourers from Indonesia, as the country is also busy with their own development given that its new capital Nusantara is coming up.

“We have to adopt technology as we move forward. For instance the plantation sector, we cannot rely on foreign laborers. So mechanisation and automation using robotics are the only option.

“This has to be done. I was informed that Ta Ann (a company engaging in oil palm cultivation) has managed to procure a (high-technology) tractor that is equipped with sensors to facilitate the harvesting and collecting of oil palm fruits through their estates.

“I think this also applies to the construction sector,” he said when officiating Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Annual Dinner and Excellence Awards 2022 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) last night.

Abang Johari emphasised that the construction industry can work with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Centre of Technical Excellence (Centexs) to not only acquire the technology but also in upskilling and training for workers.

“On quality of workers, I have requested CIDB and Centexs to provide upskilling and training to workers.

“Therefore, I would appeal to the housing or construction industry to work together with these training institutions. You can work with Centexs as the institution has the technology from Huawei and other collaborators. Of course, there will be a cost to it,” he said.

Highlighting that adopting the right approach and technology is becoming increasingly crucial in this era, Abang Johari pointed out that companies should provide training programmes for workers so that they can be efficient and competent in operating robotic systems or machinery.

Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Deputy Minister of Local Government Michael Tiang, Sheda president Augustine Wong and organising chairman of the Sheda Excellence Awards Dato Ir Sr Alex Ting were among those present. — DayakDaily