HSL grapples with Q3 challenges: Acute labour shortages, expensive logistics, rain

Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe

KUCHING, Nov 26: Labour shortages are now even more acute as more economic sectors open up while pockets of travel movement restrictions remain, says Hock Seng Lee (HSL) managing director Dato Paul Yu Chee Hoe.

He said limiting factors also caused disruptions of material supplies especially metal related on top of increasing logistic costs due to fuel prices.

Another constraint to HSL works was the rainy weather over July to September when Sarawak recorded a high number of rainy days.


Yu said the Malaysian Meteorological Department noted the high rainfall to be linked to lower sea surface temperatures while the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre confirmed La Niña conditions and expects it to persist until early 2022.

“Given the constraints, HSL would adopt a selective and prudent approach on job procurement. Work will have to be carried out in the midst of challenging circumstances.

“We continue to work on replenishing our order books, but we will be cautious. We must be selective in our strategy to safeguard against price volatility.

“We must manage projects efficiently. For the foreseeable future, it will be challenging for the construction industry,” he said in a statement today, announcing HSL financial results for the third quarter of 2021 (Q3’2021) ended Sept 30.

The Group posted a pretax profit of RM13.76 million from revenues of RM150.88 million where construction activities contributed RM111.34 million and property development accounted for the remaining RM29.13 million.

For the corresponding period in the preceding year, pretax profit was RM13.03 million with revenues of RM161.16 million. In the second quarter of 2021 (Q2’2021), pretax profit was RM11.9 million from revenues of RM142.79 million.

The 10-storey HSL Tower also La Promenade Mall, home to a growing number of popular cafes and restaurants.

Yu said Q3’2021 results were recorded over the peak period of Covid-19 from July to Sept, thus high infection rates had hampered efficiency and productivity.

“We worked through a difficult period. In Sarawak, daily positive cases ballooned from about 500 cases in early July to more than 4,700 in mid-September.

“Since then, the situation has improved with high vaccination take-up rates by the Sarawakian public. Sarawak was first in line nationwide to receive booster shots,” he said in a statement today.

Such healthcare measures, he added, managed to reduce the number of severe Covid-19 cases and allowed most economic sectors to continue reopening in Sarawak, but both the public and private sectors remain cautious in work engagements to prevent hotspots and spikes.

In terms of ongoing projects, HSL’s mega project of Pan Borneo Highway is about 80% complete currently.

In the property segment, HSL’s focus stays on affordability. Its Samariang Aman 3 (SA3), where 70% of units in early phases were single-storey units, is in the construction phase.

Next phases of double-storey terraces and semi-dees are in the pipeline. — DayakDaily

One of SA3’s showhouses “Rumah Ramah” showing the living room.